Pedosphere 30(6): 778--790, 2020
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2020 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Bacterial communities associated with natural and commercially grown rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)
Casparus J. BRINK1, Anneke POSTMA1, Etienne SLABBERT2, Ferdinand POSTMA1, A. Muthama MUASYA3, Karin JACOBS1
1Department of Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Stellenbosch 7600(South Africa)
2Central Analytical Facility, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Stellenbosch 7602(South Africa)
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701(South Africa)
ABSTRACT
      Aspalathus linearis is a commercially important plant species endemic to the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa and is used to produce a herbal tea known as rooibos tea. Symbiotic interactions between A. linearis and soil bacteria play an important role in the survival of Aspalathus plants in the highly nutrient-poor, acidic fynbos soil. The aim of this study was to characterize and compare rhizosphere and bulk soil bacterial communities associated with natural and commercially grown A. linearis, as well as the effect of seasonal changes on these communities. Bacterial communities were characterized using high throughput amplicon sequencing, and their correlations with soil chemical properties were investigated. The N-fixing bacterial community was characterized using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Acidobacteria were the most dominant bacterial phyla detected in this study. Highly similar bacterial communities were associated with natural and commercially grown plants. Significant differences in the bacterial community were observed between rhizosphere and bulk soils collected in the dry season, while no significant differences were detected in the wet season. This study provides insights into bacterial community structure and potential factors shaping bacterial community structure with commercially important A. linearis.
Key Words:  bulk soil,fynbos,N-fixing bacterial community,operational taxonomic unit,rhizosphere soil,16S rRNA sequencing
Citation: Brink C J, Postma A, Slabbert E, Postma F, Muasya A M, Jacobs K. 2020. Bacterial communities associated with natural and commercially grown rooibos (Aspalathus linearis). Pedosphere. 30(6):778-790.
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