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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02616

Bacterial and fungal communities are differentially modified by melatonin in agricultural soils under abiotic stress

  • 1Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences, La Trobe University, Australia
  • 2Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Australia
  • 3Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology, La Trobe University, Australia

An extensive body of evidence from the last decade has indicated that melatonin enhances plant resistance to a range of biotic and abiotic stressors. This has led to an interest in the application of melatonin in agriculture to reduce negative physiological effects from environmental stresses that affect yield and crop quality. However, there are no reports regarding the effects of melatonin on soil microbial communities under abiotic stress, despite the importance of microbes for plant root health and function. Three agricultural soils associated with different land usage histories (pasture, canola or wheat) were placed under abiotic stress by cadmium (100 or 280 mg kg-1 soil) or salt (4 or 7 g kg-1 soil) and treated with melatonin (0.2 and 4 mg kg-1 soil). Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) was used to generate Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) for microbial community analysis in each soil. Significant differences in richness (α diversity) and community structures (β diversity) were observed between bacterial and fungal assemblages across all three soils, demonstrating the effect of melatonin on soil microbial communities under abiotic stress. The analysis also indicated that the microbial response to melatonin is governed by the type of soil and history. The effects of melatonin on soil microbes needs to be regarded in potential future agricultural applications.

Keywords: Melatonin, microbial ecology, ARISA, abiotic stress, salt, Cadmium

Received: 12 Jun 2019; Accepted: 28 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Madigan, Egidi, Bedon, Franks and Plummer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Frank Bedon, Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, f.bedon@latrobe.edu.au