Drivers of the Sisrè berry plant [Synsepalum dulcificum (Schumach &Thonn.) Daniell] rhizosphere bacterial communities in Benin

Adigoun RFR, Durand A, Tchokponhoué DA, Achigan-Dako EG, Aholoukpè HNS, Bokonon-Ganta AH, Benizri E, 2024. Drivers of the Sisrè berry plant [Synsepalum dulcificum (Schumach & Thonn.) Daniell] rhizosphere bacterial communities in Benin. Science of The Total Environment; 938: 173550,

Each plant species has its own rhizobacteriome, whose activities determine both soil biological quality and plant growth. Little knowledge exists of the rhizosphere bacterial communities associated with opportunity crops with high economic potential such as Synsepalum dulcificum. Native to West Africa, this shrub is famous for its red berries representing the only natural source of miraculin, a glycoprotein, with sweetening properties, but also playing a role in the treatment of cancer and diabetes. This study aimed to characterize the structure and diversity of rhizobacterial communities associated with S. dulcificum and to identify the parameters determining this diversity. An initial sampling stage allowed the collection of rhizosphere soils from 29 S. dulcificum accessions, belonging to three distinct phenotypes, from 16 municipalities of Benin, located either on farms or in home gardens. The bacterial diversity of these rhizosphere soils was assessed by Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene after DNA extraction from these soils. Furthermore, an analysis of the physicochemical properties of these soils was carried out. All accessions combined, the most represented phylum appeared to be Actinobacteriota, with an average relative abundance of 43.5 %, followed by Proteobacteria (14.8 %), Firmicutes (14.3 %) and Chloroflexi (12.2 %), yet the relative abundance of dominant phyla varied significantly among accessions (p < 0.05). Plant phenotype, habitat, climate and soil physicochemical properties affected the bacterial communities, but our study pointed out that soil physicochemical parameters were the main driver of rhizobacterial communities’ structure and diversity. Among them, the assimilable phosphorus, lead, potassium, arsenic and manganese contents, texture and cation exchange capacity of rhizosphere soils were the major determinants of the composition and diversity of rhizosphere bacterial communities. These results suggested the possibility of improving the growth conditions and productivity of S. dulcificum, by harnessing its associated bacteria of interest and better managing soil physicochemical properties.

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