High Salt Levels Reduced Dissimilarities in Root-Associated Microbiomes of Two Barley Genotypes

Asma Kherfi-Nacer, Zhichun Yan, Amina Bouherama, Lucas Schmitz, Saadia Ouled Amrane, Carolien Franken, Martinus Schneijderberg, Xu Cheng, Said Amrani, Rene Geurts, Ton Bisseling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Plants harbor in and at their roots bacterial microbiomes that contribute to their health and fitness. The microbiome composition is controlled by the environment and plant genotype. Previously, it was shown that the plant genotype-dependent dissimilarity of root microbiome composition of different species becomes smaller under drought stress. However, it remains unknown whether this reduced plant genotype-dependent effect is a specific response to drought stress or a more generic response to abiotic stress. To test this, we studied the effect of salt stress on two distinct barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) genotypes: the reference cultivar Golden Promise and the Algerian landrace AB. As inoculum, we used soil from salinized and degraded farmland on which barley was cultivated. Controlled laboratory experiments showed that plants inoculated with this soil displayed growth stimulation under high salt stress (200 mM) in a plant genotype-independent manner, whereas the landrace AB also showed significant growth stimulation at low salt concentrations. Subsequent analysis of the root microbiomes revealed a reduced dissimilarity of the bacterial communities of the two barley genotypes in response to high salt, especially in the endophytic compartment. High salt level did not reduce α-diversity (richness) in the endophytic compartment of both plant genotypes but was associated with an increased number of shared strains that respond positively to high salt. Among these, Pseudomonas spp. were most abundant. These findings suggest that the plant genotype-dependent microbiome composition is altered generically by abiotic stress.[Formula: see text]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-603
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular plant-microbe interactions : MPMI
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • abiotic stress
  • barley
  • Golden Promise
  • meta-amplicon sequencing
  • microbial ecology
  • root microbiome
  • salinity


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