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Sweet Sorghum Genotypes Tolerant And Sensitive To Nitrogen Stress Select Distinct Root Endosphere And Rhizosphere Bacterial Communities

Lucas Dantas Lopes, Yen Ning Chai, Ellen L. Marsh, John F. Rajewski, Ismail Dweikat, Daniel P. Schachtman

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The belowground microbiomes have many beneficial functions that assist plant growth, including nutrient cycling, acquisition and transport, as well as alleviation of stresses caused by nutrient limitations such as nitrogen (N). Here we analyzed the root endosphere, rhizosphere and soil bacterial communities of seven sweet sorghum genotypes differing in sensitivity to N-stress. Sorghum genotypes were grown in fields with no (low-N) or sufficient (high-N) N. The dry shoot weight ratio (low-N/high-N) was used to determine N-stress sensitivity. Our hypothesis was that genotypes tolerant and sensitive to N-stress select distinct bacterial communities. The endosphere and rhizosphere bacterial community structure were significantly different between the N-stress sensitive and tolerant genotypes in the high-N field, but not in the low-N field. However, significant changes in the relative abundance of specific bacterial taxa were observed in both fields. Streptomyces, a bacterial genus known to alleviate plant abiotic stresses, was enriched in the endosphere and rhizosphere of the tolerant genotypes in the low-N field. Our study indicates that sweet sorghum genotypes tolerant to N-stress select taxa that can potentially mitigate the N-stress, suggesting that the interactions between N-stress tolerant lines and the root-associated microbiome might be vital for coping with N-stress.