Microbiomes associated with infective stages of root-knot and lesion nematodes in soil
Endoparasitic root-knot (Meloidogyne spp.) and lesion (Pratylenchus spp.) nematodes cause considerable damage in agriculture. Before they invade roots to complete their life cycle, soil microbes can attach to their cuticle or surface coat and antagonize the nematode directly or by induction of host plant defenses. We investigated whether the nematode-associated microbiome in soil differs between infective stages of Meloidogyne incognita and Pratylenchus penetrans, and whether it is affected by variation in the composition of microbial communities among soils. Nematodes were incubated in suspensions of five organically and two integrated horticultural production soils, recovered by sieving and analyzed for attached bacteria and fungi after washing off loosely adhering microbes. Significant effects of the soil type and nematode species on nematode-associated fungi and bacteria were revealed as analyzed by community profiling using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Attached microbes represented a small specific subset of the soil microbiome. Two organic soils had very similar bacterial and fungal community profiles, but one of them was strongly suppressive towards root-knot nematodes. They were selected for deep amplicon sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and fungal ITS. Significant differences among the microbiomes associated with the two species in both soils suggested specific surface epitopes. Among the 28 detected bacterial classes, Betaproteobacteria, Bacilli and Actinobacteria were the most abundant. The most frequently detected fungal genera were Malassezia, Aspergillus and Cladosporium. Attached microbiomes did not statistically differ between these two soils. However, Malassezia globosa and four fungal species of the family Plectosphaerellaceae, and the bacterium Neorhizobium galegae were strongly enriched on M. incognita in the suppressive soil. In conclusion, the highly specific attachment of microbes to infective stages of phytonematodes in soil suggested an ecological role of this association and might be involved in soil suppressiveness towards them.