Microbiome properties in the root nodules of Prosopis cineraria, a leguminous desert tree

Rashid Ali, Srinivasa R. Chaluvadi, Xuewen Wang, Khaled M. Hazzouri, Naganeeswaran Sudalaimuthuasari, Mohammed Rafi, Mariam Al-Nuaimi, Shina Sasi, Eric Antepenko, Jeffrey L. Bennetzen, Khaled M.A. Amiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We conducted a comprehensive analysis of the total microbiome and transcriptionally active microbiome communities in the roots and root nodules of Prosopis cineraria, an important leguminous tree in arid regions of many Asian countries. Mature P. cineraria trees growing in the desert did not exhibit any detected root nodules. However, we observed root nodules on the roots of P. cineraria growing on a desert farm and on young plants growing in a growth chamber, when inoculated with rhizosphere soil, including with rhizosphere soil from near desert tree roots that had no nodules. Compared to nearby soil, non-nodulated roots were enriched with Actinobacteria (e.g., Actinophytocola sp.), whereas root nodules sampled from the desert farm and growth chamber had abundant Alphaproteobacteria (e.g., Ensifer sp.). These nodules yielded many microbes in addition to such nitrogen-fixingbacteria as Ensifer and Sinorhizobium species. Significantdifferencesexist in the composition and abundance of microbial isolates between the nodule surface and the nodule endosphere. Shotgun metagenome analysis of nodule endospheres revealed that the root nodules comprised over 90% bacterial DNA, whereas metatranscriptome analysis showed that the plant produces vastly more transcripts than the microbes in these nodules. Control inoculations demonstrated that four out of six Rhizobium, Agrobacterium, or Ensifer isolates purifiedfrom P. cineraria nodules produced nodules in the roots of P. cineraria seedlings under greenhouse conditions. The best nodulation was achieved when seedlings were inoculated with a mixture of those bacterial strains. Though root nodulation could be achieved under water stress conditions, nodule number and nodule biomass increased with copious water availability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Caesalpinioideae
  • metagenome
  • metatranscriptome
  • nitrogen fixation,root nodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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