2018 Volume 33 Issue 3 Pages 317-325
The rapid development of high-throughput techniques and expansion of bacterial databases have accelerated efforts to bring plant microbiomes into cultivation. We introduced plant-only-based culture media as a successful candidate to mimic the nutritional matrices of plant roots. We herein employed a G3 PhyloChip microarray to meticulously characterize the culture-dependent and -independent bacterial communities of the maize root compartments, the endo- and ecto-rhizospheres. An emphasis was placed on the preference of the growth of unculturable candidate divisions/phyla on plant-only-based culture media over standard culture media (nutrient agar). A total of 1,818 different operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were resolved representing 67 bacterial phyla. Plant-only-based culture media displayed particular affinity towards recovering endophytic over ectophytic rhizobacteria. This was shown by the slightly higher recovery of CFUs for endophytes on plant-only-based culture media (26%) than on standard culture media (10%) as well as the higher taxa richness and numbers of exclusive families of unculturable divisions/phyla. Out of 30 bacterial phyla (comprising >95% of the whole population), 13 were of a significantly higher incidence on plant-only-based culture media, 6 phyla of which were not-yet-cultured (Atribacteria, OP9; Dependentiae, TM6; Latescibacteria, WS3; Marinimicrobia, SAR406; Omnitrophica, OP3; BRC1). Furthermore, plant-only-based culture media significantly enriched less abundant and/or hard-to-culture bacterial phyla (Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, and Tenericutes). These results present conclusive evidence of the ability of plant-only-based culture media to bring the plant-fed in situ microbiome into the status of plant-fed in vitro cultures, and to widen the scope of cultivation of heretofore-unculturable bacterial divisions/phyla.