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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Assembly of root-associated N₂O-reducing communities of annual crops is governed by selection for nosZ Glade I over Glade II

Graf, Daniel R. H.; Jones, Christopher M.; Zhao, Ming; Hallin, Sara


The rhizosphere is a hotspot for denitrification. The nitrous oxide (N₂O) reductase among denitrifiers and nondenitrifying N₂O reducers is the only known N₂O sink in the biosphere. We hypothesized that the composition of root-associated N₂O-reducing communities when establishing on annual crops depend on soil type and plant species, but that assembly processes are independent of these factors and differ between nosZ clades I and II. Using a pot experiment with barley and sunflower and two soils, we analyzed the abundance, composition, and diversity of soil and root-associated N₂O reducing communities by qPCR and amplicon sequencing of nosZ. Clade I was more abundant on roots compared to soil, while clade II showed the opposite. In barley, this pattern coincided with N₂O availability, determined as potential N₂O production rates, but for sunflower no N₂O production was detected in the root compartment. Root and soil nosZ communities differed in composition and phylogeny-based community analyses indicated that assembly of root-associated N₂O reducers was driven by the interaction between plant and soil type, with inferred competition being more influential than habitat selection. Selection between clades I and II in the root/soil interface is suggested, which may have functional consequences since most clade I microorganisms can produce N₂O.


denitrification; nitrous oxide; rhizosphere; soil

Published in

FEMS Microbiology Ecology
2022, Volume: 98, number: 9