• Open Access

Bacterial diversity in the rhizosphere of maize and the surrounding carbonate-rich bulk soil


  • Funding Information This work was funded by grants from the Ministry of Science and Innovation (Consolider-Ingenio CSD2007-00005; and Explora-Reverse) and FEDER from the Junta de Andalucía Grupo CVI-191).

For correspondence. Estación Experimental del Zaidín-CSIC, C/ Profesor Albareda, 1, E-18008 Granada, Spain. E-mail juanluis.ramos@eez.csic.es; Tel. (+34) 958 181608; Fax (+34) 958 129600.


Maize represents one of the main cultivar for food and energy and crop yields are influenced by soil physicochemical and climatic conditions. To study how maize plants influence soil microbes we have examined microbial communities that colonize maize plants grown in carbonate-rich soil (pH 8.5) using culture-independent, PCR-based methods. We observed a low proportion of unclassified bacteria in this soil whether it was planted or unplanted. Our results indicate that a higher complexity of the bacterial community is present in bulk soil with microbes from nine phyla, while in the rhizosphere microbes from only six phyla were found. The predominant microbes in bulk soil were bacteria of the phyla Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, while Gammaproteobacteria of the genera Pseudomonas and Lysobacter were the predominant in the rhizosphere. As Gammaproteobacteria respond chemotactically to exudates and are efficient in the utilization of plants exudate products, microbial communities associated to the rhizosphere seem to be plant-driven. It should be noted that Gammaproteobacteria made available inorganic nutrients to the plants favouring plant growth and then the benefit of the interaction is common.