Agroforestry Management Systems Drive the Composition, Diversity, and Function of Fungal and Bacterial Endophyte Communities in Theobroma Cacao Leaves
Wemheuer, Franziska ; Berkelmann, Dirk ; Wemheuer, Bernd ; Daniel, Rolf ; Vidal, Stefan ; Bisseleua Daghela, Hervé Bertin
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17357
Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) is one of the most economically important crops worldwide. Despite the important role of endophytes for plant growth and health, very little is known about the effect of agroforestry management systems on the endophyte communities of T. cacao. To close this knowledge gap, we investigated the diversity, community composition, and function of bacterial and fungal endophytes in the leaves of T. cacao trees growing in five major cacao-growing regions in the central region of Cameroon using DNA metabarcoding. Fungal but not bacterial alpha diversity measures differed significantly between the agroforestry management systems. Interestingly, less managed home-garden cacao forests harbored the lowest fungal richness and diversity. Our results suggest that the composition of bacterial and fungal endophyte communities is predominantly affected by agroforestry management systems and, to a lesser extent, by environmental properties. The core microbiome detected comprised important fungal phytopathogens, such as Lasiodiplodia species. Several predicted pathways of bacterial endophytes and functional guilds of fungal endophytes differed between the agroforest systems which might be attributed to bacteria and fungi specifically associated with a single agroforest. Our results provide the basis for future studies on foliar fungal and bacterial endophytes of T. cacao and their responsiveness towards agroforestry management systems.
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