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Grazing by nematodes on rhizosphere bacteria enhances nitrate and phosphorus availability to Pinus pinaster seedlings

Abstract : The microbial loop is thought to play a major role in the mineralization of nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in terrestrial ecosystems. This microbial loop is based on the grazing of bacteria by predators such as bacterial-feeding nematodes. However, little is known about the impact of grazing by nematodes on the mineral nutrition of woody plants. This study was undertaken to quantify the effect of nematode grazing on bacteria in the rhizosphere on the root architecture, growth and mineral nutrition (N and P) of a woody species (Pinus pinaster). Young P. pinaster seedlings were cultivated for 35 days in a simplified sterile experimental system with bacteria (Bacillus subtilis) and bacterivorous nematodes (Rhabditis sp.) isolated from soil samples collected from a 15-year old stand of maritime pine. To check the hypothesis that bacteria could be a source of nutrients, especially N, two N sources were supplied in the medium: (i) bacterial N labeled with (15)N and (ii) nitrate. Phosphorus was supplied as insoluble inorganic tri-calcium phosphate (TCP). The results showed that the (15)N flow from the bacteria to the plant shoots was only significant when nematodes were present, with an average accumulation of 14 +/- 5 mu g plant(-1) of (15)N. Plants cultivated with nematodes also accumulated significantly more total N in their shoots than sterile ones or inoculated with bacteria, resulting in a net average increase in N of 700 mu g plant(-1). The same result was observed for the total P accumulation in the shoots, as plants with nematodes accumulated an average of 300 mu g plant(-1) more P than sterile ones or inoculated with bacteria. However, the presence of bacteria, whether alone or with nematodes, did not modify the root architecture. These results demonstrated that the presence of bacterial-feeding nematodes significantly enhanced N and P availability to P. pinaster seedlings, probably by improving plant use of nitrate and insoluble P supplied in the medium.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01506069
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 9:44:19 AM
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Usman Irshad, Cecile Villenave, Alain Brauman, Claude Plassard. Grazing by nematodes on rhizosphere bacteria enhances nitrate and phosphorus availability to Pinus pinaster seedlings. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Elsevier, 2011, 43 (10), pp.2121-2126. ⟨10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.06.015⟩. ⟨hal-01506069⟩

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