Rhizosphere Microbiomes Modulated by Pre-crops Assisted Plants in Defense Against Plant-Parasitic Nematodes
Plant-parasitic nematodes cause considerable damage to crop plants. The rhizosphere microbiome can affect invasion and reproductive success of plant-parasitic nematodes, thus affecting plant damage. In this study, we investigated how the transplanted rhizosphere microbiome from different crops affect plant-parasitic nematodes on soybean or tomato, and whether the plant’s own microbiome from the rhizosphere protects it better than the microbiome from fallow soil. Soybean plants growing in sterilized substrate were inoculated with the microbiome extracted from the rhizosphere of soybean, maize, or tomato. Controls were inoculated with extracts from bulk soil, or not inoculated. After the microbiome was established, the root lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans was added. Root invasion of P. penetrans was significantly reduced on soybean plants inoculated with the microbiome from maize or soybean compared to tomato or bulk soil, or the uninoculated control. In the analogous experiment with tomato plants inoculated with either P. penetrans or the root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita, the rhizosphere microbiomes of maize and tomato reduced root invasion by P. penetrans and M. incognita compared to microbiomes from soybean or bulk soil. Reproduction of M. incognita on tomato followed the same trend, and it was best suppressed by the tomato rhizosphere microbiome. In split-root experiments with soybean and tomato plants, a systemic effect of the inoculated rhizosphere microbiomes on root invasion of P. penetrans was shown. Furthermore, some transplanted microbiomes slightly enhanced plant growth compared to uninoculated plants. The microbiomes from maize rhizosphere and bulk soil increased the fresh weights of roots and shoots of soybean plants, and microbiomes from soybean rhizosphere and bulk soil increased the fresh weights of roots and shoots of tomato plants. Nematode invasion did not affect plant growth in these short-term experiments. In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of the rhizosphere microbiome in protecting crops against plant-parasitic nematodes. An effect of precrops on the rhizosphere microbiome might be harnessed to enhance the resistance of crops towards plant-parasitic nematodes. However, nematode-suppressive effects of a particular microbiome may not necessarily coincide with improvement of plant growth in the absence of plant-parasitic nematodes.