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Title: Bacterial endophyte communities in the foliage of coast redwood and giant sequoia

The endophytic bacterial microbiome, with an emerging role in plant nutrient acquisition and stress tolerance, is much less studied in natural plant populations than in agricultural crops. In a previous study, we found consistent associations between trees in the pine family and acetic acid bacteria (AAB) occurring at high relative abundance inside their needles. Our objective here was to determine if that pattern may be general to conifers, or alternatively, is more likely restricted to pines or conifers growing in nutrient limited and exposed environments. We used 16S rRNA pyrosequencing to characterize the foliar endophyte communities of two conifers in the Cupressaceae family: Two coast redwood (CR; Sequoia sempervirens) populations and one giant sequoia (GS; Sequoiadendron giganteum) population were sampled. Similar to the pines, the endophyte communities of the giant trees were dominated by Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria. However, although some major operational taxonomic units (OTUs) occurred at a high relative abundance of 10–40% in multiple samples, no specific group of bacteria dominated the endophyte community to the extent previously observed in high-elevation pines. Several of the dominating bacterial groups in the CR and GS foliage (e.g., Bacillus, Burkholderia, Actinomycetes) are known for disease- and pest suppression, raising themore » possibility that the endophytic microbiome protects the giant trees against biotic stress. Many of the most common and abundant OTUs in our dataset were most similar to 16S rRNA sequences from bacteria found in lichens or arctic plants. For example, an OTU belonging to the uncultured Rhizobiales LAR1 lineage, which is commonly associated with lichens, was observed at high relative abundance in many of the CR samples. Lastly, the taxa shared between the giant trees, arctic plants, and lichens may be part of a broadly defined endophyte microbiome common to temperate, boreal, and tundra ecosystems.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. University of California, Merced, CA (United States). Life and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Sciences; Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Department of Biology; Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division
  2. University of California, Merced, CA (United States). Life and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Sciences and Sierra Nevada Research Institute
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Microbiology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X
Frontiers Research Foundation
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; bacterial endophytes; 16S rRNA; foliage; microbiome; giant sequoia; redwood; Sequoia sempervirens; Sequoiadendron giganteum
OSTI Identifier: