Allelopathy-selected microbiomes mitigate chemical inhibition of plant performance

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Daniel Philip Revillini, Aaron S. David, Carolina Vigo, Preston Allen, Christopher A. Searcy, Michelle E Afkhami


Allelopathy is a common and important stressor that shapes plant communities and can alter soil microbiomes, yet little is known about the direct effects of allelochemical addition on bacterial and fungal communities or the potential for allelochemical-selected microbiomes to mediate plant performance responses, especially in habitats naturally structured by allelopathy. Here we present the first community-wide investigation of microbial mediation of allelochemical effects on plant performance by testing how allelopathy affects soil microbiome structure and how these microbial changes impact germination and productivity across 13 plant species. The soil microbiome exhibited significant changes to ‘core’ bacterial and fungal taxa, bacterial composition, abundance of functionally important bacterial and fungal taxa, and predicted bacterial functional genes after the addition of the dominant allelochemical native to this habitat. Further, plant performance was mediated by the allelochemical-selected microbiome, with allelopathic inhibition of plant productivity moderately mitigated by the microbiome. Through our findings, we present a potential framework to understand the strength of plant-microbial interactions in the presence of environmental stressors, in which frequency of the ecological stress is a key predictor of microbiome-mediation strength.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology Life Sciences, Life Sciences, Other Plant Sciences, Plant Biology


Microbial mediation, Rhizobacteria, Plant-microbial interaction, environmental stress, disturbance


Published: 2023-03-19 23:13

Last Updated: 2023-03-20 03:13


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Open data/code are not available at the moment. Will be available upon acceptance at a later date.