U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Poplar Roots Influence Microbial Community Composition
Published: September 01, 2011
Posted: October 31, 2011

Poplar, a model organism for woody perennials, is a promising bioenergy feedstock for producing cellulosic biofuels. Poplar roots establish intimate associations with various microorganisms, both bacterial and fungal, that are beneficial to both plant and microbe. However, these associations are still poorly understood. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have published the first results of a comprehensive study of the poplar rhizosphere (soil in direct contact with plant roots) and endophytic (living within plant tissues without causing harm) microbial communities from mature, natural poplar stands. They investigated microbial diversity among root endophyte and associated rhizosphere communities from two poplar populations differing in soil and stand characteristics near the Caney Fork River in central Tennessee. Although soil was not a major determinant of microbial distribution and diversity, the rhizosphere and endophyte communities of both bacteria and fungi were distinct. The results suggest that tissues within naturally occurring poplar roots provide a unique niche for these microorganisms. The research has implications for the growth and management of poplar plantations established for biofuel production.

Reference: Gottel, N. R., H. F. Castro, M. Kerley, Z. Yang, D. A. Pelletier, M. Podar, T. Karpinets, E. Uberbacher, G. A. Tuskan, R. Vilgalys, M. J. Doktycz, and C. W. Schadt. 2011. "Distinct Microbial Communities Within the Endosphere and Rhizosphere of Populus deltoides Roots Across Contrasting Soil Types," Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77(17), 5934-44. (DOI:10.1128/AEM.05255-11) (Reference link)

Contact: Cathy Ronning, SC-23.2, (301) 903-9549
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)