The relative importance of specific plant properties versus soil characteristics in shaping the bacterial community structure of the rhizosphere is a topic of considerable debate. Here, we report the results of a study on the bacterial composition of the rhizosphere of the wild plant Carex arenaria (sand sedge) growing at 10 natural sites in The Netherlands. The soil properties of the sandy soils at these sites were highly disparate, most notably in pH, chloride and organic matter content. Rhizosphere and bulk soil bacterial communities were examined by culture-independent means, namely, 16S rDNA-directed PCR-DGGE profiling. Large differences were observed between the bacterial communities of the different sites for both bulk and rhizosphere soil. Cluster analysis of bacterial profiles revealed that the rhizosphere community of each site was generally more closely related to the bulk soil community of that site rather than to rhizosphere communities of other sites. Hence, bacterial community structure within the rhizosphere of C. arenaria appeared to be determined to a large extent by the bulk soil community composition. This conclusion was supported by a reciprocal planting experiment, where C. arenaria shoots of different sites yielded highly similar rhizosphere communities when planted in the same soil [KEYWORDS: Rhizosphere; Bacterial community composition; Soil characteristics; Carex arenaria; PCR-DGGE]
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoil Biology & Biochemistry
Journal publication date2005

ID: 363919