Impacts of elevated CO2 on plant-microbial interactions

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Shengjing Shi1, Donald Herman1, Erin E Nuccio2, Jennifer Pett-Ridge2, Eoin Brodie3, Zhili He4, Jizhong Zhou5 and Mary Firestone6, (1)University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, (2)Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, Livermore, CA, United States, (3)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States, (4)University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, United States, (5)University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, Norman, OK, United States, (6)Univ California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States
Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are predicted to alter C cycling and terrestrial ecosystem functions through effects on plant-microbial interactions. Under elevated CO2, plants transfer more C belowground. However, the fate, transformation and consequence of this extra C in soil are not well understood. We examined the influence of eCO2 on the belowground C cycling using Avena fatua, a common Mediterranean annual grass, with its root associated microbial community across multiple plant growth stages over one-growing season. Avena grown under eCO2 (700 ppm) 13CO2 increased both total C allocated belowground and the amount of root-derived 13C in the mineral-associated fraction. Although eCO2 did not show any significant impact on the abundance (quantified by qPCR) and composition (assessed by MiSeq 16S and ITS sequencing) of rhizosphere microbial community at any sampling time point, small but significant shifts on rhizosphere microbial functional potential were detected using GeoChip 5.0. In addition, the rhizosphere effect (i.e., impact of roots on rhizosphere community versus bulk soil) was much stronger in plants grown under eCO2 than these under ambient CO(aCO2). The rhizosphere enriched genes included key functional genes involved in C, N, P and S cycling as well as stress response. The signal intensities of a number of C cycling genes shifted significantly in rhizosphere communities associated with plants grown under eCO2, and many of these genes are involved in the decomposition of low molecular weight C compounds. When plants became senescent, the abundance of some genes encoding enzymes capable of decomposing macromolecular C compounds (e.g., xylanase, endopolygalacturonase) were significant higher in the rhizosphere of Avena grown in eCO2 than aCO2 condition, which may be due to the higher amount of Avena root debris detected at the end of season. Understanding modulations of plant-microbial interactions due to changing climate may allow improved prediction and model parameterization.