Study on temporal variability in rhizosphere bacterial and fungal community structure in hydroponic melons

Microbes can establish a pathogenetic or symbiotic relationship with plants in soil and aquatic ecosystems. Although a change in bacterial and fungal communities in soil and their interaction with plants have been widely studied, little is known about their community structure in hydroponic systems across plant growth stages under different nutrient treatments. This study used next-generation sequencing analysis to assess the temporal changes in melon rhizosphere bacterial and fungal community structure across six different nutrient treatments.

This study found significant changes in the microbial community composition (especially for bacteria) between growth stages (R = 0.25–0.63, p < 0.01) than nutrient treatments. Proteobacteria dominated the bacterial community at the phylum level across melon growth stages (59.8% ± 16.1%). The genera Chryseobacterium, Pseudomonas, and Massilia dominated the rhizosphere in the flowering and pollination stage, while Brevibacillius showed the highest relative abundance in the harvesting stage. However, the rhizosphere was dominated by uncultured fungal taxa, likely due to the application of fungicides (Ridomil MZ).

Further, linear regression analysis revealed a weak influence of bacterial community structure on melon yield and quality, while fruit weight and quality moderately responded to Mg and K deficiency. Nevertheless, the relative abundance of bacterial genus Chryseobacterium in the vegetative stage showed a strong correlation with fruit weight (R2 = 0.75, p < 0.05), while genera Brevibacillus, Lysobacter, and Bosea in late growth stages strongly correlated with fruit sweetness. Overall, temporal variability in the microbial (especially bacterial) community structure exceeds the variability between nutrient treatments for the given range of nutrient gradient while having little influence on melon yield.

Read the complete research at

Lin, Yu-Pin & Lin, Chiao-Ming & Mukhtar, Hussnain & Lo, Hsiao-Feng & Ko, Min-Chun & Wang, Shu-Jen. (2021). Temporal Variability in the Rhizosphere Bacterial and Fungal Community Structure in the Melon Crop Grown in a Closed Hydroponic System. Agronomy. 11. 719. 10.3390/agronomy11040719. 

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