Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.19, 7427-7438, 2021
The assembly of wheat-associated fungal community differs across growth stages
Plant-associated fungal communities play a vital role in plant adaptations, physiological functions, and productivity. Therefore, it is important to reveal the mechanisms driving the assembly of these communities. Yet it is still not fully understood how community assembly and structure differentiate in plant compartments, growth seasons, and varieties at large geographic distances. In this study, we analyzed bulk soil and plant-associated fungal communities of five wheat varieties across two growth stages in three biogeographic sites with distances of about 324, 534, or 800 km apart between any two locations. Our results indicated that the fungal community varied primarily across the sample types (leaf endosphere, root endosphere, rhizosphere, and bulk soil), followed by growth stage. Compared with the regreening stage, lower alpha-diversity and more dominance by abundant species in the fungal community were observed in wheat-associated compartments (four sample types except for bulk soil) at the heading stage. Additionally, within each wheat-associated compartment across every growth stage, location had stronger effects on fungal community assembly than the wheat variety. The effects of variety on fungal community assembly were location specific as were the growth-stage patterns of varietal effects on leaf endosphere and rhizosphere fungal communities. We further detected a less diverse but abundant core fungal taxa that could be grouped into three clusters associated mainly with location. This study characterized the interplay effects between plant selection (compartment, growth stage, variety) and environment (location) on wheat-associated mycobiomes by determining drivers of fungal community assembly and core fungal taxa in field conditions.