Contrasting composition, diversity and predictive metabolic potential of the rhizobacterial microbiomes associated with native and invasive Prosopis congeners.
Invasive plants are known to alter the soil microbial communities; however, the effects of co-occurring native and invasive congeners on the soil bacterial diversity and their predictive metabolic profiles are not known. Here, we compared the rhizosphere bacterial communities of invasive Prosopis juliflora and its native congener Prosopis cineraria using high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic mean (UPGMA) based dendrogram revealed significant variation in the communities of these co-occurring Prosopis species. Additionally, Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) based on microbial communities in addition to the soil physiochemical parameters viz. soil pH, electrical conductivity, moisture content and sampling depth showed ~ 80% of the variation in bacterial communities of the rhizosphere and control soil. We observed that Proteobacteria was the predominant phylum of P. juliflora rhizosphere and the control soil, while P. cineraria rhizosphere was dominated by Cyanobacteria. Notably, the invasive P. juliflora rhizosphere showed an enhanced abundance of bacterial phyla like Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes and Acidobacteria compared to the native P. cineraria as well as the control soil. Predictive metagenomics revealed that the bacterial communities of the P. juliflora rhizosphere had a higher abundance of pathways involved in antimicrobial biosynthesis and degradation, suggesting probable exposure to enemy attack and an active response mechanism to counter it as compared to native P. cineraria. Interestingly, the higher antimicrobial biosynthesis predicted in the invasive rhizosphere microbiome is further corroborated by the fact that the bacterial isolates purified from the rhizosphere of P. juliflora belonged to genera like Streptomyces, Isoptericola and Brevibacterium from the phylum Actinobacteria, which are widely reported for their antibiotic production ability. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the co-occurring native and invasive Prosopis species have significantly different rhizosphere bacterial communities in terms of composition, diversity and their predictive metabolic potentials. In addition, the rhizosphere microbiome of invasive Prosopis proffers it a fitness advantage and influences invasion success of the species.