Faculté des sciences

Assessing the role of native plant growth-promoting Rhizobacteria as bio-inoculants for Yerba Mate ("Ilex paraguariensis")

Bergottini, Veronica M ; Junier, Pilar (Dir.) ; Benrey, Betty (Codir.)

Thèse de doctorat : Université de Neuchâtel, 2015.

The accelerated process of soil degradation due to long-term inadequate agricultural practices in Misiones, the major productive region of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hill.) in Argentina, has led to an urgent need for research and development of more sustainable agricultural practices. Yerba Mate is an emblematic crop in southern South America due to its leaves are used to prepare... Plus

Ajouter à la liste personnelle
    Summary
    The accelerated process of soil degradation due to long-term inadequate agricultural practices in Misiones, the major productive region of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hill.) in Argentina, has led to an urgent need for research and development of more sustainable agricultural practices. Yerba Mate is an emblematic crop in southern South America due to its leaves are used to prepare an energizing beverage called “mate” consumed as an alternative to coffee. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the role of native plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) as potential bio-inoculants for Yerba Mate seedlings.
    This thesis has shown that biomass yields of Yerba Mate seedlings can be increased up to 183% through bio-inoculation with native PGPR strains. Interestingly, the biomass yield increase was obtained through bio-inoculation in a less fertile soil. Kosakonia radicincitans YD4 was the most effective PGPR strain in enhancing the growth of Yerba Mate seedlings. Bio-inoculation with this strain in soil led to higher yields than those obtained in compost, even though higher yields can be expected in the latter due its high fertility. These results suggested that this strain represents a promising candidate to evaluate its potential as bio-inoculant for this crop in low-productive plantations.
    The whole genome of K. radicincitans YD4 was sequenced and annotated to analyze the genetic potential ability to colonize the rhizosphere, and if virulence-associated genes are present in this strain. The presence of genes for chemotaxis, adherence structures (fimbriae) and anti-microbial activities reflected the genetic potential of this strain to colonize and compete successfully in the rhizosphere. Regarding the safety of using YD4 as a bio-inoculant, two gene clusters (Type III and Type VI secretions systems) often associated to pathogenicity were identified. Comparative genomic analysis using closely related pathogenic and PGPR strains suggested that these gene clusters might confer adaptative advantages to YD4 to compete against other microbes and survive in the rhizosphere. This hypothesis has been also proposed for other beneficial plant associated bacteria possessing these gene clusters.
    In order to evaluate the ability of the bio-inoculant YD4 to colonize the rhizosphere of Yerba Mate seedlings, a strain-specific real time PCR approach was designed. The dynamics of YD4 was monitored in the rhizosphere of inoculated seedlings during five weeks in nursery. The plant growth-promoting effect of YD4 was confirmed by higher biomass yields and the introduced strain was detected in the rhizospheric soil until the end of the experiment (five weeks). These results suggested that the strain YD4 once inoculated, colonize and remain associated to the rhizosphere exerting its plant growth-promoting effect. Combining these results we can confirm that the isolate YD4 is a PGPR strain with a promising potential to be used as a bio-inoculant for Yerba Mate seedlings.
    In the last chapter, the bacterial and fungal root-associated microbiome of Yerba Mate was analyzed for the first time using a pyrosequencing approach. This study aimed at the description of the enriched microbial taxa potentially involved in plant growth promotion inhabiting the roots of this crop. In addition, we analyzed if the agricultural historical management and location sites of Yerba Mate plantations have an effect on the alpha and beta diversity. Our results have shown that the bacterial genera Burkholderia and Enterobacter (containing well-known PGPR representatives) were enriched in Yerba Mate roots, whereas endomycorrhizal fungi were enriched particularly in one low-productive plantation with low soil P content. Yerba Mate trees might be exerting a selective pressure for mycorrhization in this type of plantations. The bacterial community composition, genetic diversity and phylogenetic diversity were significantly influenced by the geographical location of the plantations; whereas the fungal community composition and genetic diversity were significantly affected by the geographical location and soil pH. No effect of the historical agricultural management or location of the plantations was observed on the alpha diversity.
    This thesis has contributed with an eco-friendly strategy to improve Yerba Mate growth in nursery, and highlighted the fact that better yields can be obtained thought bio-inoculation in less fertile soils. We are optimistic that this strategy could be exploited in field conditions in the future.