Manipulation of the soil microbiome regulates the colonization of plants by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Bruna Arruda, Paul B.L. George, Agnès Robin, Denise de L. C. Mescolotti, Wilfrand F.B. Herrera, Davey L. Jones, Fernando D. Andreote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are important symbionts of many plant species, facilitating the acquisition of soil nutrients by roots. We hypothesized that AMF root colonization is strongly influenced by the composition of the soil microbiome. Here, we evaluated mycorrhizal colonization of two plants, the grass Urochloa brizantha (Brachiaria) and the legume Crotalaria juncea (Crotalaria). These were cultivated in the same soil but hosting eight distinct microbiomes: natural soil (i); soil exposed to heat treatments for 1 h at 50 ºC (ii), 80 ºC (iii), or 100 ºC (iv); sterilized soil by autoclaving (AS) followed by re-inoculation of dilutions of the natural soil community at 10−1 (v), 10−3 (vi), and 10−6 (vii); and AS without re-inoculation (viii). Microbial diversity (bacteria and fungi) was assessed through 16S rDNA and ITS1 metabarcoding, respectively, and the soil acid phosphatase activity (APASE) was measured. Sequencing results showed the formation of distinct microbial communities according to the soil manipulations, which also correlated with the decline of APASE. Subsequently, seedlings of Brachiaria and Crotalaria were grown in those soils inoculated separately with three AMF (Acaulospora colombiana, Rhizophagus clarus, and Dentiscutata heterogama) which were compared to an AMF-free control treatment. Brachiaria showed higher colonization in natural soil when compared to the microbial community manipulations, regardless of the AMF species inoculated. In contrast, two mycorrhiza species were able to colonize Crotalaria under modified microbial communities at similar rates to natural soil. Furthermore, Brachiaria showed a possible inverse relationship between APASE and mycorrhization, but this trend was absent for Crotalaria. We conclude that mycorrhizal root colonization and soil acid phosphatase activity were associated with the structure of the soil microbiome, depending on the plant species evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-558
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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