Seed mucilage plays important roles in the adaptation of desert plants to the stressful environment. Artemisia sphaerocephala is an important pioneer plant in the Central Asian cold desert, and it produces a large quantity of seed mucilage. Seed mucilage of A. sphaerocephala can be degraded by soil microbes, but it is unknown which microorganisms can degrade mucilage or how the mucilage-degrading microorganisms affect rhizosphere microbial communities or root nutrients. Here, mucilage-degrading microorganisms were isolated from the rhizosphere of A. sphaerocephala, were screened by incubation with mucilage stained with Congo red, and were identified by sequencing and phylogenetic analyses. Fungal-bacterial networks based on high-throughput sequencing of rhizosphere microbes were constructed to explore the seasonal dynamic of interactions between a mucilage-degrading microorganism and its closely related microorganisms. The structural equation model was used to analyze effects of the mucilage-degrading microorganism, rhizosphere fungal-bacterial communities, and soil physicochemical properties on root C and N. The fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium was identified as a mucilage-degrading microorganism. Relative abundance of the mucilage-degrading fungus (MDF) was highest in May. Subnetworks showed that the abundance of fungi and bacteria closely related to the MDF also were highest in May. Interactions between the MDF and related fungi and bacteria were positive, which might enhance mucilage degradation. In addition, the MDF might regulate root C and N by affecting rhizosphere microbial community structure. Our results suggest that MDF from the rhizosphere strengthens the plant-soil-microbe continuum, thereby potentially regulating microbial interactions and root nutrients of A. sphaerocephala.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.