In this work we have studied the antagonistic interactions existing among cultivable bacteria isolated from three ecological niches (rhizospheric soil, roots, and stem/leaves) of the traditional natural medicinal plant Echinacea purpurea. The three compartments harbored different taxonomic assemblages of strains, which were previously reported to display different antibiotic resistance patterns, suggesting the presence of differential selective pressure due to antagonistic molecules in the three compartments. Antagonistic interactions were assayed by the cross-streak method and interpreted using a network-based analysis. In particular “within-niche inhibition” and “cross-niche inhibition'’ were evaluated among isolates associated with each compartment as well as between isolates retrieved from the three different compartments, respectively. Data obtained indicated that bacteria isolated from the stem/leaves compartment were much more sensitive to the antagonistic activity than bacteria from roots and rhizospheric soil. Moreover, both the taxonomical position and the ecological niche might influence the antagonistic ability/sensitivity of different strains. Antagonism could play a significant role in contributing to the differentiation and structuring of plant-associated bacterial communities.
Via Kemen Lab, Nina Dombrowski, Stéphane Hacquard