High-throughput 16S rRNA gene-based amplicon sequencing reveals the functional divergence of halophilic bacterial communities in the Suaeda salsa root compartments on the eastern coast of China

Sci Total Environ. 2024 Jun 4:942:173775. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.173775. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The rhizosphere environment of plants, which harbors halophilic bacterial communities, faces significant challenges in coping with environmental stressors, particularly saline soil properties. This study utilizes a high-throughput 16S rRNA gene-based amplicon sequencing to investigate the variations in bacterial community dynamics in rhizosphere soil (RH), root surface soil (RS), root endophytic bacteria (PE) compartments of Suaeda salsa roots, and adjoining soils (CK) across six locations along the eastern coast of China: Nantong (NT), Yancheng (YC), Dalian (DL), Tianjin (TJ), Dongying (DY), and Qingdao (QD), all characterized by chloride-type saline soil. Variations in the physicochemical properties of the RH compartment were also evaluated. The results revealed significant changes in pH, electrical conductivity, total salt content, and ion concentrations in RH samples from different locations. Notably, the NT location exhibited the highest alkalinity and nitrogen availability. The pH variations were linked to HCO3- accumulation in S. salsa roots, while salinity stress influenced soil pH through H+ discharge. Despite salinity stress, enzymatic activities such as catalase and urease were higher in soils from various locations. The diversity and richness of bacterial communities were higher in specific locations, with Proteobacteria dominating PE samples from the DL location. Additionally, Vibrio and Marinobacter were prevalent in RH samples. Significant correlations were found between soil pH, salinity, nutrient content, and the abundance and diversity of bacterial taxa in RH samples. Bioinformatics analysis revealed the prevalence of halophilic bacteria, such as Bacillus, Halomonas, and Streptomyces, with diverse metabolic functions, including amino acid and carbohydrate metabolisms. Essential genes, such as auxin response factor (ARF) and GTPase-encoding genes, were abundant in RH samples, suggesting adaptive strategies for harsh environments. Likewise, proline/betaine transport protein genes were enriched, indicating potential bioremediation mechanisms against high salt stress. These findings provide insight into the metabolic adaptations facilitating resilience in saline ecosystems and contribute to understanding the complex interplay between soil conditions, bacterial communities, and plant adaptation.

Keywords: Bacterial community; Coastal saline-alkali soil; Rhizosphere soil; Root compartment; Suaeda salsa.