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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Plant nutrient‐acquisition strategies drive topsoil microbiome structure and function

Bahram, Mohammad; Netherway, Tarquin; Hildebrand, Falk; Pritsch, Karin; Drenkhan, Rein; Loit, Kaire; Anslan, Sten; Bork, Peer; Tedersoo, Leho


Plant nutrient-acquisition strategies drive soil processes and vegetation performance, but their effect on the soil microbiome remains poorly understood. This knowledge is important to predict the shifts in microbial diversity and functions due to increasing changes in vegetation traits under global change.Here we documented the topsoil microbiomes of 145 boreal and temperate terrestrial sites in the Baltic region that broadly differed in vegetation type and nutritional traits, such as mycorrhizal types and symbiotic nitrogen-fixation.We found that sites dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) vegetation harbor relatively more AM fungi, bacteria, fungal saprotrophs, and pathogens in the topsoil compared with sites dominated by ectomycorrhizal (EM) plants. These differences in microbiome composition reflect the rapid nutrient cycling and negative plant-soil feedback in AM soils. Lower fungal diversity and bacteria : fungi ratios in EM-dominated habitats are driven by monodominance of woody vegetation as well as soil acidification by EM fungi, which are associated with greater diversity and relative abundance of carbohydrate-active enzymes.Our study suggests that shifts in vegetation related to global change and land use may strongly alter the topsoil microbiome structure and function.


biotic interactions; metagenomics; mycorrhizal type; plant-soil feedback; symbiosis

Published in

New Phytologist
2020, volume: 227, number: 4, pages: 1189-1199

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Hildebrand, Falk
Earlham Institute
Pritsch, Karin
Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health
Drenkhan, Rein
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Loit, Kaire
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Anslan, Sten
Braunschweig University of Technology
Bork, Peer
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Tedersoo, Leho
University of Tartu

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