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Temporal shifts of fungal communities in the rhizosphere and on tubers in potato fields.

ABSTRACT

Soil fungal communities perform important ecological roles determining, at least in part, agricultural productivity. This study aimed at examining the fungal community dynamics in the potato rhizosphere across different development stages in two consecutive growing seasons (winter and summer). Microbial fingerprinting of rhizosphere soil samples collected at pre-planting, tuber initiation, flowering and at senescence was performed using ARISA in conjunction with Next Generation Sequencing (Illumina MiSeq). The epiphytic fungal communities on tubers at harvest were also investigated. Alpha-diversity was stable over time within and across the two seasons. In contrast, rhizospheric fungal community structure and composition were different between the two seasons and in the different plant growth stages within a given season, indicating the significance of the rhizosphere in shaping microbial communities. The phylum Ascomycota was dominant in the potato fungal rhizosphere, with Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) belonging to the genus Peyronellaea being the most abundant in all samples. Important fungal pathogens of potato, together with potential biological control agents and saprophytic species, were identified as indicator OTUs at different plant growth stages. These findings indicate that potato rhizosphere fungal communities are functionally diverse, which may contribute to soil health. Copyright © 2018 British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.