New pub: Assembly of the switchgrass and miscanthus leaf microbiome

The ShadeLab has a new manuscript published today in Nature Communications!

The ShadeLab has a new manuscript published today in Nature Communications!  


Assembly and seasonality of core phyllosphere microbiota on perennial biofuel crops

by Keara L. Grady, Jackson W. Sorensen, Nejc Stopnisek, John Guittar & Ashley Shade 

Nature Communications, volume 10, Article number: 4135 (2019) 


Perennial grasses are promising feedstocks for biofuel production, with potential for leveraging their native microbiomes to increase their productivity and resilience to environmental stress. Here, we characterize the 16S rRNA gene diversity and seasonal assembly of bacterial and archaeal microbiomes of two perennial cellulosic feedstocks, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus). We sample leaves and soil every three weeks from pre-emergence through senescence for two consecutive switchgrass growing seasons and one miscanthus season, and identify core leaf taxa based on occupancy. Virtually all leaf taxa are also detected in soil; source-sink modeling shows non-random, ecological filtering by the leaf, suggesting that soil is an important reservoir of phyllosphere diversity. Core leaf taxa include early, mid, and late season groups that were consistent across years and crops. This consistency in leaf microbiome dynamics and core members is promising for microbiome manipulation or management to support crop production.


Read the press release of the work by GLBRC Communications!


We are grateful to the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center for supporting this project (U.S. Department of Energy), to the Long-term Ecological Research Program at the Kellogg Biological Station and Michigan State University AgBioResearch for supporting the field infrastructure, and the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute for the awesome sequencing effort on our samples.  We also thank the Michigan State Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research for computing resources and the Plant Resilience Institute for providing some personnel support.

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