Intrinsic factors ofPeltigeralichens influence the structure of the associated soil bacterial microbiota

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Abstract

Definition of lichens has evolved from bi(tri)partite associations to multi-species symbioses, where bacteria would play essential roles. Besides, although soil bacterial communities are known to be affected by edaphic factors, when lichens grow upon them these could become less preponderant. We hypothesized that the structure of both the lichen microbiota and the microbiota in the soil underneath lichens is shaped by lichen intrinsic and extrinsic factors. In this work, intrinsic factors corresponded to mycobiont and cyanobiont identities of Peltigera lichens, metabolite diversity and phenoloxidase activity and extrinsic factors involved the site of the forest where lichens grow. Likewise, the genetic and metabolic structure of the lichen and soil bacterial communities were analyzed by fingerprinting. Among the results, metabolite diversity was inversely related to the genetic structure of bacterial communities of lichens and soils, highlighting the far-reaching effect of these substances; while phenoloxidase activity was inversely related to the metabolic structure only of the lichen bacterial microbiota, presuming a more limited effect of the products of these enzymes. Soil bacterial microbiota was different depending on the site and, strikingly, according to the cyanobiont present in the lichen over them, which could indicate an influence of the photobiont metabolism on the availability of soil nutrients.

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