Soil Inoculation with Bacillus spp. Modifies Root Endophytic Bacterial Diversity, Evenness, and Community Composition in a Context-Specific Manner

Kiran Gadhave, Paul Devlin, Andreas Ebertz, Arabella Ross, Alan Gange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of microbial inoculants containing plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria as a promoter of plant fitness and health is becoming increasingly popular in agriculture. However, whether and how these bacteria affect indigenous bacterial communities in field conditions is sparsely explored. We studied the effects of seed inoculation and field soil application of ubiquitous soil bacteria, B. cereus, B. subtilis, and B. amyloliquefaciens, on the diversity, evenness, and richness of endophytic bacterial communities in sprouting broccoli roots using high-throughput metagenome sequencing. The multiple operational taxonomic units (OTUs) assigned to different bacterial taxa clearly showed changes in ecological measures and relative abundances of certain taxa between control and treatment groups. The Bacillus inocula, themselves, failed to flourish as endophytes; however, the effects they extended on the endophytic bacterial community were both generic as well as species specific. In each case, Pseudomonadales, Rhizobiales, Xanthomonadales, and Burkholderiales were the most abundant orders in the endosphere. B. amyloliquefaciens drastically reduced the most abundant genus, Pseudomonas, while increasing the relative abundance of a range of minor taxa. The Shannon-Weiner diversity and Buzas and Gibson's evenness indices showed that the diversity and evenness were increased in both B. amyloliquefaciens and mixed treated plants. The UniFrac measurement of beta diversity showed that all treatments affected the specific composition of the endophytic bacterial community, with an apparent interspecies competition in the mixed treatment. Taken together, Bacillus species influenced the diversity, evenness, and composition of the endophytic bacterial community. However, these effects varied between different Bacillus spp. in a context-specific manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-750
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number3
Early online date6 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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