Impact of soil salinity on the microbial structure of halophyte rhizosphere microbiome


The rhizosphere microbiome plays a significant role in the life of plants in promoting plant survival under adverse conditions. However, limited information is available about microbial diversity in saline environments. In the current study, we compared the composition of the rhizosphere microbiomes of the halophytes Urochloa, Kochia, Salsola, and Atriplex living in moderate and high salinity environments (Khewra salt mines; Pakistan) with that of the non-halophyte Triticum. Soil microbiomes analysis using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene indicated that Actinobacteria were dominant in saline soil samples whereas Proteobacteria predominated in non-saline soil samples. Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, Bacteriodetes and Thaumarchaeota were predominant phyla in saline and non-saline soils, whereas Cyanobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Gemmatimonadetes and the unclassified WPS-2 were less abundant. Sequences from Euryarchaeota, Ignavibacteriae, and Nanohaloarchaeota were identified only from the rhizosphere of halophytes. Dominant halophilic bacteria and archaea identified in this study included Agrococcus, Armatimonadetes gp4, Halalkalicoccus, Haloferula and Halobacterium. Our analysis showed that increases in soil salinity correlated with significant differences in the alpha and beta diversity of the microbial communities across saline and non-saline soil samples. Having a complete inventory of the soil bacteria from different saline environments in Pakistan will help in the discovery of potential inoculants for crops growing on salt-affected land.



Document Type




16S rRNA gene, Haloarchaea, Halophilic bacteria, Pyrosequencing, Soil microbiome, Soil salinity

Publication Date


Journal Title

World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology