Influence of seasonal changes and salinity on spinach phyllosphere bacterial functional assemblage.PLoS One. 2021; 16(6):e0252242.Plos
The phyllosphere is the aerial part of plants that is exposed to different environmental conditions and is also known to harbor a wide variety of bacteria including both plant and human pathogens. However, studies on phyllosphere bacterial communities have focused on bacterial composition at different stages of plant growth without correlating their functional capabilities to bacterial communities. In this study, we examined the seasonal effects and temporal variabilities driving bacterial community composition and function in spinach phyllosphere due to increasing salinity and season and estimated the functional capacity of bacterial community16S V4 rRNA gene profiles by indirectly inferring the abundance of functional genes based on metagenomics inference tool Piphillin. The experimental design involved three sets of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L., cv. Racoon) grown with saline water during different seasons. Total bacteria DNA from leaf surfaces were sequenced using MiSeq® Illumina platform. About 66.35% of bacteria detected in the phyllosphere were dominated by four phyla- Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria. Permutational analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) showed that phyllosphere microbiomes were significantly (P < 0.003) affected by season, but not salinity (P = 0.501). The most abundant inferred functional pathways in leaf samples were the amino acids biosynthesis, ABC transporters, ribosome, aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, two-component system, carbon metabolism, purine metabolism, and pyrimidine metabolism. The photosynthesis antenna proteins pathway was significantly enriched in June leaf samples, when compared to March and May. Several genes related to toxin co-regulated pilus biosynthesis proteins were also significantly enriched in June leaf samples, when compared to March and May leaf samples. Therefore, planting and harvesting times must be considered during leafy green production due to the influence of seasons in growth and proliferation of phyllosphere microbial communities.