The soil microbiome modulates the sorghum root metabolome and cellular traits with a concomitant reduction of Striga infection

Dorota Kawa* (Corresponding author), Benjamin Thiombiano, Mahdere Z. Shimels, Tamera Taylor, Aimee Walmsley, Hannah E. Vahldick, Dominika Rybka, Marcio F.A. Leite, Zayan Musa, Alexander Bucksch, Francisco Dini-Andreote, Mario Schilder, Alexander J. Chen, Jiregna Daksa, Desalegn W. Etalo, Taye Tessema, Eiko E. Kuramae, Jos M. Raaijmakers, Harro Bouwmeester, Siobhan M. Brady* (Corresponding author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Sorghum bicolor is among the most important cereals globally and a staple crop for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 20% of sorghum yield is lost annually in Africa due to infestation with the root parasitic weed Striga hermonthica. Existing Striga management strategies are not singularly effective and integrated approaches are needed. Here, we demonstrate the functional potential of the soil microbiome to suppress Striga infection in sorghum. We associate this suppression with microbiome-mediated induction of root endodermal suberization and aerenchyma formation and with depletion of haustorium-inducing factors, compounds required for the initial stages of Striga infection. We further identify specific bacterial taxa that trigger the observed Striga-suppressive traits. Collectively, our study describes the importance of the soil microbiome in the early stages of root infection by Striga and pinpoints mechanisms of Striga suppression. These findings open avenues to broaden the effectiveness of integrated Striga management practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113971
JournalCell Reports
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2024

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