Shifts in plant foliar and floral metabolomes in response to the suppression of the associated microbiota

Gargallo-Garriga A., Sardans J., Pérez-Trujillo M., Guenther A., Llusià J., Rico L., Terradas J., Farré-Armengol G., Filella I., Parella T., Peñuelas J. (2016) Shifts in plant foliar and floral metabolomes in response to the suppression of the associated microbiota. BMC Plant Biology. 16: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1186/s12870-016-0767-7

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Background: The phyllospheric microbiota is assumed to play a key role in the metabolism of host plants. Its role in determining the epiphytic and internal plant metabolome, however, remains to be investigated. We analyzed the Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) profiles of the epiphytic and internal metabolomes of the leaves and flowers of Sambucus nigra with and without external antibiotic treatment application. Results: The epiphytic metabolism showed a degree of complexity similar to that of the plant organs. The suppression of microbial communities by topical applications of antibiotics had a greater impact on the epiphytic metabolome than on the internal metabolomes of the plant organs, although even the latter changed significantly both in leaves and flowers. The application of antibiotics decreased the concentration of lactate in both epiphytic and organ metabolomes, and the concentrations of citraconic acid, acetyl-CoA, isoleucine, and several secondary compounds such as terpenes and phenols in the epiphytic extracts. The metabolite pyrogallol appeared in the floral epiphytic community only after the treatment. The concentrations of the amino acid precursors of the ketoglutarate-synthesis pathway tended to decrease in the leaves and to increase in the foliar epiphytic extracts. Conclusions: These results suggest that anaerobic and/or facultative anaerobic bacteria were present in high numbers in the phyllosphere and in the apoplasts of S. nigra. The results also show that microbial communities play a significant role in the metabolomes of plant organs and could have more complex and frequent mutualistic, saprophytic, and/or parasitic relationships with internal plant metabolism than currently assumed. © 2016 Gargallo-Garriga et al.

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Vegetation baseline phenology from kilometric global LAI satellite products

Verger A., Filella I., Baret F., Peñuelas J. (2016) Vegetation baseline phenology from kilometric global LAI satellite products. Remote Sensing of Environment. 178: 1-14.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2016.02.057

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Land surface phenology derived from remotely sensed satellite data can substantially improve our macroecological knowledge and the representation of phenology in earth system models. We characterized the baseline phenology of the vegetation at the global scale from the GEOCLIM climatology of leaf area index (LAI) estimated from 1-km SPOT-VEGETATION time series for 1999-2010. The phenological metrics were calibrated over an ensemble of ground observations of the timing of leaf unfolding and autumnal colouring of leaves. The start and end of season were best identified using respectively 30% and 40% threshold of LAI amplitude values. The accuracy of the derived phenological metrics, evaluated using available ground observations for birch forests over Europe (and lilac shrubs over North America), improved as compared to those derived from MODIS-EVI and produced an overall root mean square error of 7 days (19 days) for the timing of the start of season, 15 for the end of season, and 16 for the length of season. The spatial patterns of the derived LAI phenology agreed well with those from MODIS-EVI and -NDVI, although the timing of the start, end, and length of season differed by about one month at the global scale, with higher uncertainties in areas of limited seasonality of the satellite signal and systematic biases due to the differences in the methodologies and datasets. The baseline LAI phenology was spatially consistent with the global distributions of climatic drivers and biome land cover. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

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Remotely-sensed detection of effects of extreme droughts on gross primary production

Vicca S., Balzarolo M., Filella I., Granier A., Herbst M., Knohl A., Longdoz B., Mund M., Nagy Z., Pintér K., Rambal S., Verbesselt J., Verger A., Zeileis A., Zhang C., Peñuelas J. (2016) Remotely-sensed detection of effects of extreme droughts on gross primary production. Scientific Reports. 6: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1038/srep28269

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Severe droughts strongly impact photosynthesis (GPP), and satellite imagery has yet to demonstrate its ability to detect drought effects. Especially changes in vegetation functioning when vegetation state remains unaltered (no browning or defoliation) pose a challenge to satellite-derived indicators. We evaluated the performance of different satellite indicators to detect strong drought effects on GPP in a beech forest in France (Hesse), where vegetation state remained largely unaffected while GPP decreased substantially. We compared the results with three additional sites: a Mediterranean holm oak forest (Puéchabon), a temperate beech forest (Hainich), and a semi-arid grassland (Bugacpuszta). In Hesse, a three-year reduction in GPP following drought was detected only by the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI). The Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) also detected this drought effect, but only after normalization for absorbed light. In Puéchabon normalized PRI outperformed the other indicators, while the short-term drought effect in Hainich was not detected by any tested indicator. In contrast, most indicators, but not PRI, captured the drought effects in Bugacpuszta. Hence, PRI improved detection of drought effects on GPP in forests and we propose that PRI normalized for absorbed light is considered in future algorithms to estimate GPP from space.

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