Crenarchaeota colonize terrestrial plant roots

Environ Microbiol. 2000 Oct;2(5):495-505. doi: 10.1046/j.1462-2920.2000.00131.x.


Microorganisms that colonize plant roots are recruited from, and in turn contribute substantially to, the vast and virtually uncharacterized phylogenetic diversity of soil microbiota. The diverse, but poorly understood, microorganisms that colonize plant roots mediate mineral transformations and nutrient cycles that are central to biosphere functioning. Here, we report the results of epifluorescence microscopy and culture-independent recovery of small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences showing that members of a previously reported clade of soil Crenarchaeota colonize both young and senescent plant roots at an unexpectedly high frequency, and are particularly abundant on the latter. Our results indicate that non-thermophilic members of the Archaea inhabit an important terrestrial niche on earth and direct attention to the need for studies that will determine their possible roles in mediating root biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crenarchaeota / classification
  • Crenarchaeota / growth & development*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / microbiology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Phylogeny*
  • Plant Roots / microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal