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Invasive plants modify soil microbial community and that benefited plant growth

2015年9月1日

Successful invasion by exotic plant species can modify the abundance and composition of soil microbial communities. Eupatorium adenophora and Chromolaena odorata are exotics and have become highly invasive plants in China. Several studies have investigated mechanisms of their successful invasions including phenotypic plasticity, genetic differentiation, and allelopathy, but little is known about effects on soil microorganisms.

Dr. XIAO Haifeng of Soil Ecology Group in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and his colleagues used two invasive (E. adenophora and C. odorata) and two native plant species (Eupatorium japonicum and Eupatorium heterophyllum) to compare the soil feedback (to plant growth) before and after microbial-community exposure to sterilization of the soil and to plant-root exudates. They found that soil sterilization significantly increased biomass of native Eupatorium japonicum and Eupatorium heterophyllum but did not affect these two invasive species’ biomass. After root exudates from these plants had acted on the soil microbial community for 10 months, soil sterilization significantly decreased the growth of E. adenophora and C. odorata but still significantly increased the biomass of two native species. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis revealed that these four plant species modified fungal rather than bacterial communities. Subsequent sequencing results indicated that C. odorata soils had more dominant arbuscular mycorrhiza fungal (AMF) species compared with other plant species. These results strongly suggest that invasive E. adenophora and C. odorata produced plant-soil benefit themselves, which may be among the belowground mechanisms contributing to their success as invasive species.

The study entitled “Soil fungi rather than bacteria were modified by invasive plants, and that benefited invasive plant growth” has been published online in Plant and Soil.

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