Microbial Ecology

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 640–650 | Cite as

Tissue Microbiome of Norway Spruce Affected by Heterobasidion-Induced Wood Decay

  • Fei Ren
  • Andriy Kovalchuk
  • Mukrimin Mukrimin
  • Mengxia Liu
  • Zhen Zeng
  • Rajendra P. Ghimire
  • Minna Kivimäenpää
  • Jarmo K. Holopainen
  • Hui SunEmail author
  • Fred O. AsiegbuEmail author
Plant Microbe Interactions


Plants live in close association with microbial symbionts, which may affect the host fitness, productivity, and tolerance against biotic and abiotic stressors. The composition of plant microbial communities is influenced by many biotic and abiotic factors, but little is known about the effect of plant pathogens on the structure of these communities. In this study, we investigated the structure of bacterial communities associated with different tissues of asymptomatic and symptomatic (Heterobasidion-rotten) Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) trees. Our results demonstrated that each of the investigated anatomic tissues (root, bark, down stem, upper stem, and needles) harbored a unique bacterial assemblage. However, the health status of the host trees had little effect on the structure of bacterial communities, as the only significant differences among asymptomatic and symptomatic trees were found in the composition of the bacterial communities of needles. Proteobacteria was predominant in all anatomic regions with the highest abundance in needles (86.7%), whereas Actinobacteria showed an opposite trend, being more abundant in the woody tissues than in needles. Additionally, we performed profiling of terpenoid compounds present in spruce xylem and phloem. Total concentrations of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes were considerably higher in asymptomatic trees. However, we found no significant correlations between terpenoid profiles of spruce trees and the composition of their bacterial communities. Our results provide an insight into the diversity of bacteria associated with Norway spruce tree tissues. At the same time, the health status and terpenoid content of host trees had a limited effect on the composition of bacterial communities in our survey.


Bacterial biota Microbiome Microbial community Norway spruce Heterobasidion Host-microbe interactions Terpenoids 



The authors wish to acknowledge CSC–IT Center for Science, Finland, for the generous computational resources and UEF International Top Level Research Area (BORFOR) for the post-doc funding. The China Scholarship Council is also acknowledged. The research funding for Jiangsu Specially Appointed Professor (project 165010015) and Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD) are also acknowledged. This research received financial support from the Academy of Finland (No. 276862 to FOA; No. 278424 to JKH). We thank Dr. Risto Kasanen for help with field sampling.

Author Contributions

FA, HS, and AK conceived the study and contributed in the experimental design of the study; FR, AK, HS, and ZZ performed the statistical analysis; FR wrote the first draft of the manuscript; MM and ML isolated nucleic acid from the tissues. RG, MK, and JH isolated and analyzed the terpenoids. All authors contributed to manuscript revision, read, and approved the submitted version.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fei Ren
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andriy Kovalchuk
    • 1
  • Mukrimin Mukrimin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mengxia Liu
    • 1
  • Zhen Zeng
    • 1
  • Rajendra P. Ghimire
    • 4
  • Minna Kivimäenpää
    • 4
  • Jarmo K. Holopainen
    • 4
  • Hui Sun
    • 5
    Email author
  • Fred O. Asiegbu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Forestry experiment center of north ChinaChinese Academy of ForestryBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of ForestryUniversitas HasanuddinMakassarIndonesia
  4. 4.Department of Environmental and Biological SciencesUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  5. 5.Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of ForestryNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina

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