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Microbiome associated with tall fescue under drought stress

Glen Groben: Rutgers University

<div>The effects microbiomes have on physiological traits in turfgrasses are poorly understood. Drought tolerance is an economically important trait, which can be influenced by certain microbes. One example is the mycorrhizae association, which has been shown to improve drought tolerance of many plant species. In this study, we evaluated the microbiome associated with tall fescue genotypes grown in a rainout shelter after prolonged periods of drought stress. Twelve plants were selected for analysis, comprised of six sets of siblings, one exhibiting a drought tolerant phenotype and the other a susceptible phenotype. The microbiome associated with the shoot, root, and rhizosphere soil was evaluated for each tall fescue half-sib pair. Microbiome analysis was preformed utilizing an Illumina NGS metabarcoding approach that sequenced the 16S and ITS barcoding region to determine the composition of the bacterial and fungal communities, respectively. Comparative analysis of the microbiomes associated with the two phenotypes will be used to determine which microbes are associated with improved drought tolerance and drought susceptibility.</div>