DOI: 10.1128/spectrum.04978-22 ISSN:

Early inoculation of an endophyte alters the assembly of bacterial communities across rice plant growth stages

Xing Wang, Shan-Wen He, Qing He, Zhi-Cheng Ju, Yi-Nan Ma, Zhe Wang, Jia-Cheng Han, Xiao-Xia Zhang
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cell Biology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Genetics
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Physiology


The core endophytes of plants are regarded as promising resources in future agroecosystems. How they affect the assembly of rice-related bacterial communities after early inoculation remains unclear. Here, we examined bacterial communities across 148 samples, including bulk and rhizosphere soils, sterilized roots, stems, and seeds at the seedling, tillering, booting, and maturity stages. Tissue cultured rice seedlings were inoculated with Xathomonas sacchari JR3-14, a core endophytic bacterium of rice seeds, before transplanting. The results revealed that α-diversity indices were significantly enhanced in the root and stem endosphere at the seedling stage. β-diversity was altered at most plant developmental stages, except for the root and stem at the booting stage. Network complexity consequently increased in the root and stem across rice growth stages, other than the stem endosphere at the booting stage. Four abundant beneficial bacterial taxa, Bacillus , Azospira , Azospirillum , and Arthrobacter , were co-enriched during the early growth stage. Infer Community Assembly Mechanisms by Phylogenetic-bin-based null model analysis revealed a higher relative contribution of drift and other eco-evolutionary processes mainly in root compartments across all growth stages, but the opposite pattern was observed in stem compartments.


Endophytic bacteria are regarded as promising environmentally friendly resources to promote plant growth and plant health. Some of microbes from the seed are able to be carried over to next generation, and contribute to the plant’s ability to adapt to new environments. However, the effects of early inoculation with core microbes on the assembly of the plant microbiome are still unclear. In our study, we demonstrate that early inoculation of the rice seed core endophytic bacterium Xanthomonas sacchari could alter community diversity, enhance complexity degree of network structure at most the growth stages, and enrich beneficial bacteria at the seedling stage of rice. We further analyzed the evolutionary processes caused by the early inoculation. Our results highlight the new possibilities for research and application of sustainable agriculture by considering the contribution of seed endophytes in crop production and breeding.

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