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Metagenomic analysis of the aerial mycobiome of rice paddies

Sara Franco Ortega: Agroinnova - University of Torino

<div>Airborne microbiome represent a new fascinating topic that has been understudied in comparison with the microbiota present in other environments. Only a small fraction of the organisms in the atmosphere can be studied using traditional culture-based methods. In this study, the aerial composition of fungi in a rice paddy has been examined along the crop production cycle (from June to September) using a targeted DNA-based method (qPCR) to target <em>Magnaporthe</em> <em>oryzae</em> and <em>Cochliobolus</em> <em>miyabeanus</em> and by high throughput sequencing (HTS) targeting the ITS region. Alpha diversity analysis at the beginning of the trial (June) showed a higher level of complexity than at the end of the trial as well as a higher number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that decreased over time. The main taxa identified by HTS where the relative abundance drove the cluster separation as a function of the time and temperature were <em>Alternaria</em>, <em>Magnaporthe</em>, <em>Cochliobolus</em>, <em>Aspergillus</em>, <em>Penicillium</em> and <em>Myrothecium</em>. In parallel, oligotyping analysis on the main OTUs was performed to obtain a sub-OTU identification. The results revealed the presence of several characteristic oligotypes associated with meteorological conditions. In addition, a selective pressure in function of temperature on the air mycobiota composition was clearly evidenced. Indeed, changes in temperature level can drastically affect the mycobiota community structure, with a possible impact on the disease development in rice.</div>

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