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Comparative Analysis of Root Microbiomes of Rice Cultivars with High and Low Methane Emissions Reveals Differences in Abundance of Methanogenic Archaea and Putative Upstream Fermenters.

  • Author(s): Liechty, Zachary
  • Santos-Medellín, Christian
  • Edwards, Joseph
  • Nguyen, Bao
  • Mikhail, David
  • Eason, Shane
  • Phillips, Gregory
  • Sundaresan, Venkatesan
  • et al.
Abstract

Rice cultivation worldwide accounts for ∼7 to 17% of global methane emissions. Methane cycling in rice paddies is a microbial process not only involving methane producers (methanogens) and methane metabolizers (methanotrophs) but also other microbial taxa that affect upstream processes related to methane metabolism. Rice cultivars vary in their rates of methane emissions, but the influence of rice genotypes on methane cycling microbiota has been poorly characterized. Here, we profiled the rhizosphere, rhizoplane, and endosphere microbiomes of a high-methane-emitting cultivar (Sabine) and a low-methane-emitting cultivar (CLXL745) throughout the growing season to identify variations in the archaeal and bacterial communities relating to methane emissions. The rhizosphere of the high-emitting cultivar was enriched in methanogens compared to that in the low emitter, whereas the relative abundances of methanotrophs between the cultivars were not significantly different. Further analysis of cultivar-sensitive taxa identified families enriched in the high emitter that are associated with methanogenesis-related processes. The high emitter had greater relative abundances of sulfate-reducing and iron-reducing taxa which peak earlier in the season than methanogens and are necessary to lower soil oxidation reduction potential before methanogenesis can occur. The high emitter also had a greater abundance of fermentative taxa which produce methanogenesis precursors (acetate, CO2, and H2). Furthermore, the high emitter was enriched in taxa related to acetogenesis which compete with methanogens for CO2 and H2 These taxa were enriched in a spatio-specific manner and reveal a complex network of microbial interactions on which plant genotype-dependent factors can act to affect methanogenesis and methane emissions.IMPORTANCE Rice cultivation is a major source of anthropogenic emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with a potentially severe impact on climate change. Emission variation between rice cultivars suggests the feasibility of breeding low-emission rice, but there is a limited understanding of how genotypes affect the microbiota involved in methane cycling. Here, we show that the root microbiome of the high-emitting cultivar is enriched both in methanogens and in taxa associated with fermentation, iron, and sulfate reduction and acetogenesis, processes that support methanogenesis. Understanding how cultivars affect microbes with methanogenesis-related functions is vital for understanding the genetic basis for methane emission in rice and can aid in the development of breeding programs that reduce the environmental impact of rice cultivation.

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