Microbial Ecology

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 689–700 | Cite as

Effect of Different Soil Phosphate Sources on the Active Bacterial Microbiota Is Greater in the Rhizosphere than in the Endorhiza of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

  • Massimiliano CardinaleEmail author
  • Christian Suarez
  • Diedrich Steffens
  • Stefan Ratering
  • Sylvia Schnell
Plant Microbe Interactions


Phosphate is a macronutrient and often the limiting growing factor of many ecosystems. The aim of this work was to assess the effect of various phosphate sources on the active bacterial microbiota of barley rhizosphere and endorhiza. Barley was grown on poor soil supplemented with either Ca(H2PO4)2 (CaP), Gafsa rock phosphate (Gafsa), sodium hexaphytate (NaHex), or not amended (P0). RNA was extracted and cDNA synthesized via reverse transcription from both rhizosphere and endorhiza of barley roots; the obtained 16S rRNA cDNA was sequenced by Ion Torrent and analyzed with QIIME and co-occurrence network analysis. Phosphatase activity was measured in the rhizosphere. The phosphate source significantly affected alpha- and beta-diversities of the active microbiota, especially in the rhizosphere. CaP enriched the relative abundance of a broad range of taxa, while NaHex and Gafsa specifically enriched one dominant Massilia-related OTU. Co-occurrence network analysis showed that the most abundant OTUs were affected by phosphate source and, at the same time, were low connected to other OTUs (thus they were relatively “independent” from other bacteria); this indicates a successful adaptation to the specific abiotic conditions. In the rhizosphere, the phosphatase activities were correlated to several OTUs. Moreover, the phosphodiesterase/alk. phosphomonoesterase ratio was highly correlated to the dominance index of the microbiota and to the relative abundance of the dominant Massilia OTU. This study shows the differential response of the rhizosphere- and endorhiza bacterial microbiota of barley to various phosphate sources in soil, thus providing insights onto this largely unknown aspect of the soil microbiome ecology and plant-microbe interactions.


Phosphate Plant-microbe interactions Soil ecology rRNA-based next generation sequencing Co-occurrence pattern analysis Massilia 



We are very grateful to Rita Geisser-Plaum, Renate Baumann, and Bellinda Schneider for the valuable technical support. We are thankful to Stephan Jung for helping with the plant experiment and to Sushil Pokhrel for helping with the phosphatase activity measurements.

Supplementary material

248_2018_1264_MOESM1_ESM.docx (281 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 280 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Applied MicrobiologyJustus-Liebig-University GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Plant NutritionJustus-Liebig-University GiessenGiessenGermany

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