Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Consistent bacterial selection by date palm root system across heterogeneous desert oasis agroecosystems


Maria J. Mosqueira

Ramona Marasco

Marco Fusi


Giuseppe Merlino

Ameur Cherif

Daniele Daffonchio


Highly productive conventional agroecosystems are spatially embedded in resource-homogeneous systems and count on generally nutrient-rich soils. On the contrary, desert oases are isolated, the soil is relatively poor, but yet productivity is similar to conventional agroecosystems. Soil dominates over plant as the main factor shaping root-associated microbiomes in conventional agroecosystems. We hypothesize that in desert oasis, the environmental discontinuity, the resource paucity and limited microbial diversity of the soil make the plant a prevailing factor. We have examined the bacterial communities in the root system of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), the iconic keystone species of the oases, grown in heterogeneous soils across a broad geographic range (22,200 km2 surface area) of the Sahara Desert in Tunisia. We showed that, regardless of the edaphic conditions and geographic location, the plant invariably selects similar Gammaproteobacteria- and Alphaproteobacteria-dominated bacterial communities. The phylogeny, networking properties and predicted functionalities of the bacterial communities indicate that these two phyla are performing the ecological services of biopromotion and biofertilization. We conclude that in a desert agroecosystem, regardless of the soil microbial diversity baseline, the plant, rather than soil type, is responsible of the bacterial community assembly in its root systems, reversing the pattern observed in conventional agroecosystem.


Mosqueira, M. J., Marasco, R., Fusi, M., Michoud, G., Merlino, G., Cherif, A., & Daffonchio, D. (2019). Consistent bacterial selection by date palm root system across heterogeneous desert oasis agroecosystems. Scientific Reports, 9(1), Article 4033.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 18, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 11, 2019
Publication Date Mar 11, 2019
Deposit Date May 17, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 29, 2019
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Article Number 4033
Keywords Agroecosystems, Date Palm Root, Heterogeneous,
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations

Whoops, looks like something went wrong.