Soil microbes are essential for soil fertility. However, most studies focus on bacterial and/or fungal communities, while the top-down drivers of this microbiome composition, protists, remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated how soil amendments affect protist communities and inferred potential interactions with bacteria and fungi. Specific fertilization treatments impacted both the structure and function of protist communities. Organic fertilizer amendment strongly reduced the relative abundance of plant pathogenic protists and increased bacterivorous and omnivorous protists. The addition of individual biocontrol bacteria and fungi further altered the soil protist community composition, and eventually function. Network analysis integrating protist, bacterial and fungal community data, placed protists as a central hub in the soil microbiome, linking diverse bacterial and fungal populations. Given their dynamic response to soil management practices and key position in linking soil microbial networks, protists may provide the leverage between soil management and the enhancement of bacterial and fungal microbiota at the service of improved soil health.
Xiong, W., Jousset, A., Guo, S., Karlsson, I., Zhao, Q., Wu, H., Kowalchuk, G. A., Shen, Q., Li, R., & Geisen, S. (2018). Soil protist communities form a dynamic hub in the soil microbiome. ISME Journal, 12(2), 634-638. https://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2017.171