Bacterial microbiome of root-associated endophytes of Salicornia europaea in correspondence to different levels of salinity
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The halophytes have evolved several strategies to survive in saline environments; however, an additional support from their associated microbiota helps combat adverse conditions. Hence, our driving interests to investigate the endophytic bacterial community richness, diversity, and composition associated to roots of Salicornia europaea from two test sites with different origins of soil salinity. We assumed that salinity will have a negative effect on the diversity of endophytes but simultaneously will permit the high occurrence of halophylic bacteria. Further, to establish the role of the host and its external environment in determining the endophytic diversity, we analyzed the physico-chemical parameters of root zone soil and the concentration of salt ions in the plant roots. The results based on the Miseq Illumina sequencing approach revealed a higher number of endophytic bacterial OTUs at naturally saline test site with a higher level of soil salinity. Proteobacteria and Bacteriodetes were the dominant endophytic phyla at both analyzed sites; additionally, the high occurrence of Planctomycetes and Acidobacteria at more saline site and the occurrence of Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Chloroflexi at less saline site were recorded. The salinity in the root zone soil was crucial in structuring the endophytic community of S. europaea, and the significant prevalence of representatives from the phyla Deltaproteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Caldithrix, Fibrobacteres, and Verrucomicrobia at the more saline test site suggest domination of halophylic bacteria with potential role in mitigation of salt stress of halophytes.