While root exudation follows diurnal rhythms, little is known about the consequences for the microbiome of the rhizosphere. In this study, we used a metatranscriptomic approach to analyze the active microbial communities, before and after sunrise, in the rhizosphere of barley. We detected increased activities of many prokaryotic microbial taxa and functions at the pre-dawn stage, compared to post-dawn. Actinomycetales, Planctomycetales, Rhizobiales, and Burkholderiales were the most abundant and therefore the most active orders in the barley rhizosphere. The latter two, as well as Xanthomonadales, Sphingomonadales, and Caulobacterales showed a significantly higher abundance in pre-dawn samples compared to post-dawn samples. These changes in taxonomy coincide with functional changes as genes involved in both carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism were more abundant in pre-dawn samples compared to post-dawn samples. This study significantly enhances our present knowledge on how rhizospheric microbiota perceives and responds to changes in the soil during dark and light periods.
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