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Legacy effects of rhizodeposits on soil microbiomes: a perspective

Nannipieri, P., Hannula, S. E., Pietramellara, G., Schloter, M., Sizmur, T. ORCID: and Pathan, S. P. (2023) Legacy effects of rhizodeposits on soil microbiomes: a perspective. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 184. 109107. ISSN 0038-0717

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2023.109107


Plant legacy effects observed in plant-soil feedback experiments have largely been attributed to the root or litter material of the previous plant. The legacy effects of rhizodeposits are defined as changes in the soil microbiome that remain after a plant has died or been removed from the soil and caused by the release of substances of various compositions by living plants (rhizodeposits). Rhizodeposit-mediated legacy effects have been largely ignored mainly due to the high spatial and temporal variability of rhizodeposits and difficulties quantifying and tracking them in the rhizosphere. In this perspective article, we discuss what is known about the legacy effects of rhizodeposits and provide ideas for future experiments to improve understanding of this phenomenon. Only a few studies separate rhizodeposit-mediated plant legacy effects from legacy effects of root decomposition. Results from these experiments indicate that rhizodeposit-mediated legacy effects on soil microbial communities may persist for several months to several years, especially if the same crop is cultivated persistently for several years in a ‘conditioning’ phase. Rhizodeposit-mediated legacy effects on fungal communities usually last longer than those on bacterial communities due to fungal life-cycle strategies (spore formation) and slower reproduction rates, compared to bacterial communities. We highlight the need for further experimentation to investigate the influence that the length of a conditioning phase has on the persistence of the legacy effect, differentiate the effect of root exudates from the effects of sloughed root cells, separate the influence of simple sugars from that of high molecular-weight exudates and plant derived compounds with antimicrobial properties, and explore whether plant species diversity influences the nature of the legacy. To address these questions, we propose the use of contemporary tools such as stable isotope probing, plant genetics, and reverse microdialysis. We think that harnessing rhizodeposit-mediated plant legacy effects could be a promising approach to improve sustainable crop production by creating disease-suppressive soils and simulating plant growth-promoting micro-organisms within soil systems.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:112315


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