Root exudation patterns are linked to, among other things, plant growth, plant-microbe interaction and the priming effect. In this work, two complementary metabolomic approaches (both liquid and gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry) were applied to investigate the modulation of root exudation imposed by two beneficial fungi (substrate treatment of Trichoderma atroviride AT10, substrate application of Rhizoglomus irregulare BEG72 and seed treatment with T. atroviride AT10) on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The inoculation with R. irregulare elicited significant increases (by 18%, 39% and 20%) in the shoot, root dry biomass and root-to-shoot ratio compared to untreated plants, whereas inoculation with T. atroviride, as a substrate drench or as a seed coating, exhibited intermediate values for these parameters. The metabolomic approach demonstrated a broad chemical diversity, with more than 2900 compounds annotated in the root exudates. Overall, the Orthogonal Projections to Latent Structures Discriminant Analysis (OPLS-DA) supervised modelling highlighted a distinctive modulation of the metabolic profile in the root exudates as a function of both fungal inoculation and means of application. Most of the differences could be ascribed to lipids (sterols and membrane lipids), phenolic compounds and terpenoids, siderophores and chelating acids, derivatives of amino acids and phytohormones, and as such, the interaction between the wheat roots and beneficial fungi resulted in a complex response in terms of root exudates, likely involving a cascade of processes. Nonetheless, the changes imposed by plant-microbe interactions can contribute to the support of the biostimulant effects of both T. atroviride and R. irregulare.
Lucini, L., Colla, G., Miras Moreno, M. B., Bernardo, L., Cardarelli, M., Terzi, V., … Rouphael, Y. (2019). Inoculation of Rhizoglomus irregulare or Trichoderma atroviride differentially modulates metabolite profiling of wheat root exudates. Phytochemistry, 157, 158–167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2018.10.033