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Data from: Switchgrass rhizosphere metabolite chemistry driven by nitrogen availability


Smercina, Darian et al. (2020), Data from: Switchgrass rhizosphere metabolite chemistry driven by nitrogen availability, Dryad, Dataset,


Plants and soil microorganisms interact closely in the rhizosphere where plants may exchange carbon (C) for functional benefits from the microbial community. For example, the bioenergy crop, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is thought to exchange root-exuded C for nitrogen (N) fixed by diazotrophs (free-living N-fixers). However, this interaction is not well characterized and it is not known how or if switchgrass responds to diazotrophs or their activity. To explore this question, we assessed rhizosphere metabolite chemistry of switchgrass grown in a hydroponic system under two N levels and under inoculated or uninoculated conditions. Plants were grown with the inoculum Azotobacter vinelandii DJ for three days before harvest. We found switchgrass root exudate chemistry to be driven by N availability. Total metabolite concentrations were generally greater under high N versus low N and unaffected by inoculation. Examination of rhizosphere chemical fingerprints indicates metabolite chemistry was also driven strongly by N availability with a greater relative abundance of carbohydrates under high N and greater relative abundance of organic acids under low N. We also found evidence of changes in rhizosphere chemical fingerprints by inoculation treatment. However, we found little evidence of N treatment and inoculation interaction effects which suggests this response is not directly mediated by N availability.


Rhizosphere metabolites were collected from switchgrass (Paniucm virgatum) grow in a semi-hydroponic system under high or low N availability. Half of plant replicates were also grown in the presence of the diazotroph, Azotobacter vinelandii. All growth media was collected and lyophilized before metabolite analysis via NMR at the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Lab. Please see the associated publication (doi:10.1094/PBIOMES-09-19-0055-FI) for detailed methods. 

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U.S. Department of Energy, Award: DE-SC0014108

U.S. Department of Energy, Award: DE-SC0018409

U.S. Department of Energy, Award: DE-FC02-07ER64494

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB 1832042

U.S. Department of Energy, Award: DE-AC02-05CH11231

U.S. Department of Energy, Award: DE-AC05-76RL01830