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New insights into the role of constitutive bacterial rhizobiome and phenolic compounds in two Pinus spp. with contrasting susceptibility to pine pitch canker

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Frederico Leitão
  • Glória Pinto
  • Joana Amaral
  • Pedro Monteiro
  • Isabel Henriques
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Tree Physiology
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)600-615
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date11/09/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The rhizobiome is being increasingly acknowledged as a key player in plant health and breeding strategies. The pine pitch canker (PPC), caused by the fungus Fusarium circinatum, affects pine species with varying susceptibility degrees. Our aims were to explore the bacterial rhizobiome of a susceptible (Pinus radiata) and a resistant (Pinus pinea) species together with other physiological traits, and to analyze shifts upon F. circinatum inoculation. Pinus seedlings were stem inoculated with F. circinatum spores and needle gas exchange and antioxidant-related parameters were analyzed in non-inoculated and inoculated plants. Rhizobiome structure was evaluated through 16S rRNA gene massive parallel sequencing. Species (non-inoculated plants) harbored distinct rhizobiomes (<40% similarity), where P. pinea displayed a rhizobiome with increased abundance of taxa described in suppressive soils, displaying plant growth promoting (PGP) traits and/or anti-fungal activity. Plants of this species also displayed higher levels of phenolic compounds. F. circinatum induced slight changes in the rhizobiome of both species and a negative impact in photosynthetic-related parameters in P. radiata. We concluded that the rhizobiome of each pine species is distinct and higher abundance of bacterial taxa associated to disease protection was registered for the PPC-resistant species. Furthermore, differences in the rhizobiome are paralleled by a distinct content in phenolic compounds, which are also linked to plants’ resistance against PPC. This study unveils a species-specific rhizobiome and provides insights to exploit the rhizobiome for plant selection in nurseries and for rhizobiome-based plant-growth-promoting strategies, boosting environmentally friendly disease control strategies.