New publication in our lab on dissecting the impacts of heat and drought stress on the sorghum root microbiome

Congratulations Edi Wipf on the new paper out in Phytobiomes as a First Look. The manuscript covers our own effort to explore the different effects of heat and drought stress on the sorghum root microbiome in a controlled growth-chamber based experiment with sorghum seedlings. Edi demonstrates that heat stress provokes a strong increase in Actinobacterial taxa that is similar to, but independent from, that induced by water stress.

New Publication from our lab on Spatial Variation in the Drought Stressed Microbiome

Check out our new publication on how drought impacts the millet root microbiome by former graduate student Tuesday Simmons, who has recently left to take a postition at the Bay Area science start-up, General Automation Lab Technology (GALT). The paper explores where shifts in microbiome composition are driven by local or global effects, among other things, and compiles results from several other studies for a broad comparison of drought enriched taxa from different environments and hosts.

New Review in Current Opinion in Microbiology

A new article from our lab highlights recent advances in the field of plant microbiome research pertaining to the root microbiome’s response to drought stress. It outlines several hypotheses regarding molecular mechanisms responsible for the observed enrichment of Gram positive bacteria within roots following a plant’s exposure to drought stress, and suggests putative methods for testing the consequence of this enrichment for crop fitness.

New Review on Abiotic Stress and the Microbiome

Check out the new Book Chapter “Role of the Plant Root Microbiome in Abiotic Stress Tolerance” from Daniel Caddell and Siwen Deng on the impact of root borne microbes on abiotic stress tolerance in plants. The work highlights recent efforts to understand bacterial and fungal contributions to plant fitness under drought, salinity and nutrient stress, and to develop microbial products that can be used in agriculture for boosting yields under challenging environmental conditions.

New Funding from USDA NIFA AFRI

We are very excited to participate in the inaugural year for the NIFA AFRI Plant Microbiomes program area. This three year funding award will support our ongoing work to characterize the causes and consequences of Actinobacterial enrichment in the root microbiome under drought stress. The project represents our first collaboration with the Deutschbauer lab at UCB, bringing bonafide microbial genomic expertise to our efforts. Welcome Adam! Additionally, this projects reinvests in a long standing collaboration with Jeff Dahlberg at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research Center that will allow us to explore microbial dynamics in agriculturally relevant contexts.

New Research from the Coleman-Derr lab published in PNAS

Congratulations to Ling Xu for publication of her recent research article  on the effect of drought on the development of the root-associated bacterial communities of Sorghum bicolor, published this week in Frontiers in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences. This work is the first published from our recent DOE funded EPICON Project, exploring the molecular mechanisms of sorghum’s remarkable drought tolerance. This research demonstrates the role of drought in promoting enrichment of gram positive bacteria within the root microbiome, and suggests a potential plant metabolite-mediated mechanism for this restructuring.

New research on the grass root microbiome from Daniel Naylor published in ISME Journal

Root endophytes have been shown to have important roles in determining host fitness under periods of drought stress, and yet the effect of drought on the broader root endosphere bacterial community remains largely uncharacterized. In this new study, we present phylogenetic profiles of bacterial communities associated with drought-treated root and rhizosphere tissues of 18 species of plants. We demonstrate that there is a strong correlation between host phylogenetic distance and the microbiome dissimilarity within root tissues, and that drought weakens this correlation by inducing conserved shifts in bacterial community composition. We identify a significant enrichment in a wide variety of Actinobacteria during drought within the roots of all hosts, and demonstrate that this enrichment is higher within the root than it is in the surrounding environments. Furthermore, we show that this observed enrichment is the result of an absolute increase in Actinobacterial abundance and that previously hypothesized mechanisms for observed enrichments in Actinobacteria in drought-treated soils are unlikely to fully account for the phenomena observed here within the plant root.