Dynamic Root Exudate Chemistry and Microbial Substrate Preferences Drive Patterns in Rhizosphere Microbial Community Assembly

The Science

Show impact of plant exudates on soil microbiome.

The Impact

  • Changes in the root exudate chemistry during plant development and preferential consumption of specific exudate compounds by soil microorganisms is a key mechanism by which plants shape their rhizosphere microbiome.
  • Provides a mechanistic underpinning of rhizosphere microbial community assembly and an attractive direction for the beneficial manipulation of the rhizosphere microbiome.


  • Large-scale microbial isolation used to create a collection of relevant rhizosphere isolates.
  • Microbial community analysis and comparative genomics used to define dynamics of microbial isolates in rhizosphere and identify microbial traits selected in the rhizosphere.
  • Exometabolomics used to determine plant exudate composition and substrate uptake preferences of rhizosphere microorganisms.


Zhalnina, K. et al. “Dynamic root exudate chemistry and microbial substrate preferences drive patterns in rhizosphere microbial community assembly,” Nature Microbiology 3, 470–480 (2018). [DOI:10.1038/s41564-018-0129-3]