Faculté des sciences

Bacterial farming by the fungus Morchella crassipes

Pion, Martin ; Spangenberg, Jorge E ; Simon, Anaele ; Bindschedler, Saskia ; Flury, Coralie ; Chatelain, Auriel ; Bshary, Redouan ; Job, Daniel ; Junier, Pilar

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013, vol. 280, no. 1173, p. 20132242

The interactions between bacteria and fungi, the main actors of the soil microbiome, remain poorly studied. Here, we show that the saprotrophic and ectomycorrhizal soil fungus Morchella crassipes acts as a bacterial farmer of Pseudomonas putida, which serves as a model soil bacterium. Farming by M. crassipes consists of bacterial dispersal, bacterial rearing with fungal... More

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    Summary
    The interactions between bacteria and fungi, the main actors of the soil microbiome, remain poorly studied. Here, we show that the saprotrophic and ectomycorrhizal soil fungus Morchella crassipes acts as a bacterial farmer of Pseudomonas putida, which serves as a model soil bacterium. Farming by M. crassipes consists of bacterial dispersal, bacterial rearing with fungal exudates, as well as harvesting and translocation of bacterial carbon. The different phases were confirmed experimentally using cell counting and 13C probing. Common criteria met by other non-human farming systems are also valid for M. crassipes farming, including habitual planting, cultivation and harvesting. Specific traits include delocalization of food production and consumption and separation of roles in the colony (source versus sink areas), which are also found in human agriculture. Our study evidences a hitherto unknown mutualistic association in which bacteria gain through dispersal and rearing, while the fungus gains through the harvesting of an additional carbon source and increased stress resistance of the mycelium. This type of interaction between fungi and bacteria may play a key role in soils.