Understanding cultivar-specificity and soil determinants of the cannabis microbiome.

Understanding microbial partnerships with the medicinally and economically important crop Cannabis has the potential to affect agricultural practice by improving plant fitness and production yield. Furthermore, Cannabis presents an interesting model to explore plant-microbiome interactions as it produces numerous secondary metabolic compounds. Here we present the first description of the endorhiza-, rhizosphere-, and bulk soil-associated microbiome of five distinct Cannabis cultivars. Bacterial communities of the endorhiza showed significant cultivar-specificity. When controlling cultivar and soil type the microbial community structure was significantly different between plant cultivars, soil types, and between the endorhiza, rhizosphere and soil. The influence of soil type, plant cultivar and sample type differentiation on the microbial community structure provides support for a previously published two-tier selection model, whereby community composition across sample types is determined mainly by soil type, while community structure within endorhiza samples is determined mainly by host cultivar.

PMID: 24932479