The aim of this study was to gain understanding of the carbon flow from the roots of a genetically modified (GM) amylopectin-accumulating potato (Solanum tuberosum) cultivar and its parental isoline to the soil fungal community using stable isotope probing (SIP).
The microbes receiving 13C from the plant were assessed through RNA/phospholipid fatty acid analysis with stable isotope probing (PLFA-SIP) at three time-points (1, 5 and 12 d after the start of labeling). The communities of Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Glomeromycota were analysed separately with RT-qPCR and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP).
Ascomycetes and glomeromycetes received carbon from the plant as early as 1 and 5 d after labeling, while basidiomycetes were slower in accumulating the labeled carbon. The rate of carbon allocation in the GM variety differed from that in its parental variety, thereby affecting soil fungal communities.
We conclude that both saprotrophic and mycorrhizal fungi rapidly metabolize organic substrates flowing from the root into the rhizosphere, that there are large differences in utilization of root-derived compounds at a lower phylogenetic level within investigated fungal phyla, and that active communities in the rhizosphere differ between the GM plant and its parental cultivar through effects of differential carbon flow from the plant.