• bacterial community;
  • plant diversity;
  • rhizosphere;
  • taxonomic microarray;
  • Zea mays


A wide range of plant lines has been propagated by farmers during crop selection and dissemination, but consequences of this crop diversification on plant-microbe interactions have been neglected. Our hypothesis was that crop evolutionary history shaped the way the resulting lines interact with soil bacteria in their rhizospheres. Here, the significance of maize diversification as a factor influencing selection of soil bacteria by seedling roots was assessed by comparing rhizobacterial community composition of inbred lines representing the five main genetic groups of maize, cultivated in a same European soil. Rhizobacterial community composition of 21-day-old seedlings was analysed using a 16S rRNA taxonomic microarray targeting 19 bacterial phyla. Rhizobacterial community composition of inbred lines depended on the maize genetic group. Differences were largely due to the prevalence of certain Betaproteobacteria and especially Burkholderia, as confirmed by quantitative PCR and cloning/sequencing. However, these differences in bacterial root colonization did not correlate with plant microsatellite genetic distances between maize genetic groups or individual lines. Therefore, the genetic structure of maize that arose during crop diversification (resulting in five main groups), but not the extent of maize diversification itself (as determined by maize genetic distances), was a significant factor shaping rhizobacterial community composition of seedlings.