Gabriele Berg's research while affiliated with Universität Potsdam and other places

Publications (432)

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Plant diversification and co-evolution shaped the plant microbiome and vice versa. This resulted in a specific composition of the plant microbiome and a strong connection with the host in terms of functional interplay. Symbionts are part of the microbiota, and important for the plant’s germination and growth, nutrition, as well as stress protection...
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Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis Sims) is widely cultivated in tropic and sub-tropic regions for the production of fruit, flowers, cosmetics, and for pharmacological applications. Its high economic, nutritional, and medical values elicit the market demand, and the growing areas are rapidly increasing. Leaf blight caused by Nigrospora sphaerica is a...
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Microbiome science as an interdisciplinary research field has evolved rapidly over the past two decades, becoming a popular topic not only in the scientific community and among the general public, but also in the food industry due to the growing demand for microbiome-based technologies that provide added-value solutions. Microbiome research has exp...
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Environmental viruses have added a wealth of knowledge to ecological studies with the emergence of metagenomic technology and approaches. They are also becoming recognized as important genetic repositories that underpin the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems but have remain moslty unexplored. Using shotgun metagenome sequencing and bioinformatic...
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Vegetables and fruits are a crucial part of the planetary health diet, directly affecting human health and the gut microbiome. The objective of our study was to understand the variability of the fruit (apple and blueberry) microbiome in the frame of the exposome concept. The study covered two fruit-bearing woody species, apple and blueberry, two co...
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Background A detailed understanding of antimicrobial resistance trends among all human-related environments is key to combat global health threats. In food science, however, the resistome is still little considered. Here, we studied the apple microbiome and resistome from different cultivars (Royal Gala and Braeburn) and sources (freshly harvested...
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Background Tremendous amounts of data generated from microbiome research studies during the last decades require not only standards for sampling and preparation of omics data but also clear concepts of how the metadata is prepared to ensure re-use for integrative and interdisciplinary microbiome analysis. Results In this Commentary, we present our...
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Despite evidence that the microbiome extends host genetic and phenotypic traits, information on how the microbiome is transmitted and maintained across generations remains fragmented. For seed-bearing plants, seeds harbor a distinct microbiome and play a unique role by linking one generation to the next. Studies on microbial inheritance, a process...
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Soil microbial communities are crucial for plant growth and are already depleted by anthropogenic activities. The application of microbial transplants provides a strategy to restore beneficial soil traits, but less is known about the microbiota of traditional inoculants used in biodynamic agriculture. In this study, we used amplicon sequencing and...
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The desertification of the Aral Sea basin in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan represents one of the most serious anthropogenic environmental disasters of the last century. Since the 1960s, the world's fourth-largest inland body of water has been constantly shrinking, which has resulted in an extreme increase of salinity accompanied by accumulation of many...
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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are involved in microbial interspecies communication and in the mode of action of various antagonistic interactions. They are important for balancing host-microbe interactions and provide the basis for developing biological control strategies to control plant pathogens. We studied the interactions between the bacte...
Article
Microbiomes have an immense potential to enhance plant resilience to various biotic and abiotic stresses. However, intrinsic microbial communities respond to changes in their host's physiology and environment during plant's life cycle. The potential of the inherent plant microbiome has been neglected for a long time, especially for the postharvest...
Chapter
Microbiome research was established at the beginning of the twenty‐first century and nowadays provides an interdisciplinary platform for many fields including agriculture, food science, biotechnology, and plant pathology. In the past, the general idea for plant protection was to identify, isolate, and apply specific, beneficial microbes for disease...
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Crops are often simultaneously threaten by abiotic and biotic stress factors but the stress response of the plant holobiont is not well understood despite the high importance to ensure future plant production. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the impact of individual and combined abiotic (ionic, osmotic) and biotic (Verticillium dahli...
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The overarching biological impact of microbiomes on their hosts, and more generally their environment, reflects the co-evolution of a mutualistic symbiosis, generating fitness for both. Knowledge of microbiomes, their systemic role, interactions, and impact grows exponentially. When a research field of importance for planetary health evolves so rap...
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During the early life, introduction to external exposures such as consumption of solid foods contribute to the development of the gut microbiota. Among solid foods, fruit and vegetables are normally consumed during early childhood making them key components of a healthy human diet. The role of the indigenous microbiota of fruits as a source for ben...
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The environmental microbiota is increasingly exposed to chemical pollution. While emergence of multi-resistant pathogens is recognized as global challenge, our understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) development from native microbiomes and the risks associated with chemical exposure is limited. By implementing a lichen as a bioindicator org...
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Increasing knowledge of the microbiome has led to significant advancements in the agrifood system. Case studies based on microbiome applications have been reported worldwide and, in this review, we have selected 14 success stories that showcase the importance of microbiome research in advancing the agrifood system. The selected case studies describ...
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Bacteria and fungi are dominant members of environmental microbiomes. Various bacterial-fungal interactions (BFIs) and their mutual regulation are important factors for ecosystem functioning and health. Such interactions can be highly dynamic, and often require spatiotemporally resolved assessments to understand the interplay which ranges from anta...
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Plant-pathogenic fungi form intimate interactions with their associated bacterial microbiota during their entire life cycle. However, little is known about the structure, functions and interaction mechanisms of bacterial communities associated with fungal fruiting bodies (perithecia). Here we examined the bacterial microbiome of perithecia formed b...
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The plant microbiota plays crucial roles in sustaining plant health and productivity. Advancing plant microbiome research and designing sustainable practices for agriculture requires in-depth assessments of microorganisms associated with different host plants; however, there is little information on functional aspects of many microorganisms of inte...
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Seed microbiota influence germination and plant health and have the potential to improve crop performance, but the factors that determine their structure and functions are still not fully understood. Here, we analysed the impact of plant‐related and external factors on seed endophyte communities of 10 different oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) cult...
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Background Microbiome assembly was identified as an important factor for plant growth and health, but this process is largely unknown, especially for the fruit microbiome. Therefore, we analyzed strawberry plants of two cultivars by focusing on microbiome tracking during the different growth stages and storage using amplicon sequencing, qPCR, and m...
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Background One promise of the recently presented microbiome definition suggested that, in combination with unifying concepts and standards, microbiome research could be important for solving new challenges associated with anthropogenic-driven changes in various microbiota. With this commentary we want to further elaborate this suggestion, because w...
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Microbiome science is revolutionizing many concepts of plant biology, ecology, and evolution. Understanding plant microbiomes is key to developing solutions that guarantee crop health without impacting the environment. In this perspective article, we highlight the importance of both the structure and functions of plant-associated microbial communit...
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Introduction The plant microbiota is known to protect its host against invasion by plant pathogens. Recent studies have indicated that the microbiota of indoor plants is transmitted to the local built environment where it might fulfill yet unexplored functions. A better understanding of the interplay of such microbial communities with human pathoge...
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Organic matter inputs positively affect soil fertility and quality but management effects on the soil and plant microbiome are less understood. Therefore, we studied the response of microbial colonization of the East African highland banana cultivar "Mpologoma" (AAA genome) under different mulch and manure treatments on three representative smallho...
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The production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) represents a promising strategy of plant-beneficial bacteria to control soil-borne phytopathogens. Pseudomonas sp. PICF6 and Pseudomonas simiae PICF7 are two indigenous inhabitants of olive roots displaying effective biological control against Verticillium dahliae. Additionally, strain PICF7 is ab...
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Microbiome studies have facilitated the discovery of harmful as well as beneficial microorganisms over the last years. Recently, distinct bacteria were found within the microbiota of crop plants that confer disease resistance to their hosts. Although it is well known that the interplay between microbes and plants can result in improved plant health...
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Plants evolved in association with a diverse community of microorganisms. The effect of plant phylogeny and domestication on host–microbiome co‐evolutionary dynamics are poorly understood. Here we examined the effect of domestication and plant lineage on the composition of the endophytic microbiome of 11 Malus species, representing three major grou...
Chapter
Plant-associated microorganisms are involved in important functions related to growth, performance and health of their hosts. Understanding their modes of action is important for the development and application of microbial bioprotectants and biostimulants. Recent studies have revealed manifold plant-microbe as well as pathogen-microbe interactions...
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Microbial inoculants can be an efficient tool to manage the soil and plant microbiomes providing direct beneficial effects, and for modulating native soil and plant-associated microbiota. However, the application of soil microbial inoculants as biofertilizers and biopesticides in agriculture is still limited by factors related to their formulation,...
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Paenibacilli are efficient producers of potent agents against bacterial and fungal pathogens, which are of great interest both for therapeutic applications in medicine as well as in agrobiotechnology. Lipopeptides produced by such organisms play a major role in their potential to inactivate pathogens. In this work we investigated two lipopeptide co...
Preprint
Paenibacilli are efficient producers of potent agents against bacterial and fungal pathogens, which are of great interest both for therapeutic applications in medicine as well as in agrobiotechnol-ogy. Lipopeptides produced by such organisms play a major role in their inactivation potential. In this work we investigated two lipopeptide complexes, t...
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Sugar beets (Beta vulgaris L.) are grown in temperate regions and primarily used for sugar production. Due to limited capacities of the sugar refineries, sugar beets in Europe are stored after harvest for up to 60 days. Microbial degradation leads to sugar decrease during this time. To investigate disease impact on the microbiome level, bacterial a...
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Background Bogs are unique ecosystems inhabited by distinctive, coevolved assemblages of organisms, which play a global role for carbon storage, climate stability, water quality and biodiversity. To understand ecology and plant–microbe co-occurrence in bogs, we selected 12 representative species of bryophytes and vascular plants and subjected them...
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Multi-species biofilms are more resistant against stress compared to single-species biofilms. However, the mechanisms underlying this common observation remain elusive. Therefore, we studied biofilm formation of well-known opportunistic pathogens (Acinetobacter baumanii, Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus haemolyticus and Stenot...
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Dictyophora rubrovolvata is an important edible mushroom that is widely cultivated in China. In 2019, a serious rot disease on D. rubrovolvata was observed in a mushroom production facility located in Ce Heng County, Southwest of Guizhou Province, China. The causal agent was identified as Trichoderma koningiopsis by amplification and sequencing of...
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Background Microbiome interactions are important determinants for ecosystem functioning, stability, and health. In previous studies, it was often observed that bacteria suppress potentially pathogenic fungal species that are part of the same plant microbiota; however, the underlying microbe-microbe interplay remains mostly elusive. Here, we explore...
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not only globally caused a high number of causalities, but is also an unprecedented challenge for scientists. False-positive virus detection tests not only aggravate the situation in the healthcare sector, but also provide ground for speculations. Previous studies have highlighted the importance of software choice...
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Recently, it was shown that long-term plant breeding does not only shape plant characteristics but also impacts plant-associated microbiota substantially. This requires a microbiome-integrative breeding approach, which was not yet shown. Here we investigate this for the Styrian oil pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L. subsp. pepo var. styriaca Greb.) by anal...
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Plant-associated microorganisms are involved in important functions related to growth, performance and health of their hosts. Understanding their modes of action is important for the design of promising microbial inoculants for sustainable agriculture. Plant-associated microorganisms are able to interact with their hosts and often exert specific fu...
Article
Fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) are commonly used to evaluate the pollution impact of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in urban rivers. Although water quality assessment with FIB has a long tradition, recent studies demonstrated that FIB have a low correlation with pathogens and therefore are not accurate enough for the assessment of potential human...
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Plant-associated microorganisms are known to contribute with various beneficial functions to the health and productivity of their hosts, yet the microbiome of most plants remains unexplored. This especially applies to wild relatives of cultivated plants, which might harbor beneficial microorganisms that were lost during intensive breeding. We studi...
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We present the first worldwide study on the apple (Malus × domestica) fruit microbiome that examines questions regarding the composition and the assembly of microbial communities on and in apple fruit. Results revealed that the composition and structure of the fungal and bacterial communities associated with apple fruit vary and are highly dependen...
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Background Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat to public health. Microorganisms equipped with AMR genes are suggested to have partially emerged from natural habitats; however, this hypothesis remains inconclusive so far. To understand the consequences of the introduction of exogenic antimicrobials into natural environments, we exposed...
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Understanding the plant microbiome is a key for plant health and controlling pathogens. Recent studies have shown that plants are responsive towards natural and synthetic sound vibration (SV) by perception and signal transduction, which resulted in resistance towards plant pathogens. However, whether or not native plant microbiomes respond to SV an...
Preprint
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Background: Apple is one of the most highly consumed fruits worldwide and is the largest fruit crop produced in temperate regions. Fruit quality, safety and long-term storage are issues that are important to growers, distributors, and consumers. We present the first worldwide study on the apple fruit microbiome that examines questions regarding the...
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Cereal crop production is severely affected by seed-borne bacterial diseases across the world. Locally occurring disease resistance in various crops remains elusive. Here, we have observed that rice plants of the same cultivar can be differentiated into disease-resistant and susceptible phenotypes under the same pathogen pressure. Following the ide...
Chapter
Recent studies indicate that seed microbiomes affect germination and plant performance. However, the interplay between seed microbiota and plant health is still poorly understood. To get a complete picture of the system, a comprehensive analysis is required, comprising culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques. In this chapter, we provid...
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Abstract The field of microbiome research has evolved rapidly over the past few decades and has become a topic of great scientific and public interest. As a result of this rapid growth in interest covering different fields, we are lacking a clear commonly agreed definition of the term “microbiome.” Moreover, a consensus on best practices in microbi...
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The expanding antibiotic resistance crisis calls for a more in depth understanding of the importance of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in pristine environments. We, therefore, studied the microbiome associated with Sphagnum moss forming the main vegetation in undomesticated, evolutionary old bog ecosystems. In our complementary analysis of c...
Preprint
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Microbiome research has consistently been placed in the spotlight over the past two decades, and has shown tremendous promise in the fields of medicine, environmental science, food production, and agriculture. Life on Earth does not exist without microbes, and we may benefit from learning more about them. Yet, there is no common understanding among...
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Microbiomes are complex microbial communities, with manifold interactions in a given ecosystem. They are characterized by defined functional properties and pattern of activities. Microbiomes play an important role as parts of “holobionts” and strongly drive the health of their particular hosts. The article describes challenges and chances of recent...
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Indigenous leafy green vegetable crops provide a promising nutritious alternative for East African agriculture under a changing climate; they are better able to cope with biotic and abiotic stresses than cosmopolitan vegetable crops. To verify our hypothesis that the associated microbiome is involved, we studied archaeal and bacterial communities o...
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The ever-growing spread of resistance in medicine and agriculture highlights the need to identify new antimicrobials. Microbial volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are one of the most promising groups of chemicals to meet this need. These rarely exploited molecules exhibit antimicrobial activity and their high vapour pressure makes them ideal for app...
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The targeted application of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) provides the key for a future sustainable agriculture with reduced pesticide application. PGPR interaction with the indigenous microbiota is poorly understood, but essential to develop reliable applications. Therefore, Stenotrophomonas rhizophila SPA-P69 was applied as a seed c...
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Background The plant phyllosphere is a well-studied habitat characterized by low nutrient availability and high community dynamics. In contrast, plant trichomes, known for their production of a large number of metabolites, are a yet unexplored habitat for microbes. We analyzed the phyllosphere as well as trichomes of two tomato genotypes ( Solanum...
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Bacteria have recently emerged as important constituents of lichen ho-lobionts. Here, 29 bacterial metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) sequences were reconstructed from lichen metagenomes and taxonomically classified in four phyla. These results provide a pivotal resource for further exploration of the ecological roles played by bacterial symbionts i...
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Archaea are members of most microbiomes. While archaea are highly abundant in extreme environments, they are less abundant and diverse in association with eukaryotic hosts. Nevertheless, archaea are a substantial constituent of plant-associated ecosystems in the aboveground and belowground phytobiome. Only a few studies have investigated the role o...
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The rhizosphere microbiome is crucial for plant health, especially for preventing roots from being infected by soil-borne pathogens. Microbiota-mediated pathogen response in the soil-root interface may hold the key for microbiome-based control strategies of phytopathogens. We studied the pathosystem sugar beet—late sugar beet root rot caused by Rhi...
Chapter
Microbial volatiles harbour an extensive spectrum of chemical compounds. Bacteria-derived volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were studied for decades in order to uncover their role in microbial interactions and to decipher their importance in the communication with other organisms. In the frame of extensive screening approaches, various VOCs with gr...
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Bacteria are essential constituents of bog ecosystems. We report 44 bacterial genomes reconstructed from metagenomes sampled across 12 plant species representing the Alpine bog vegetation. This resource will facilitate further exploration of the bacteria’s genetic potential and allow to refine their ecological roles in association with their plant...
Preprint
Full-text available
The targeted application of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) provides the key for a future sustainable agriculture with reduced pesticide application. PGPR interaction with the indigenous microbiota is poorly understood but essential to develop reliable applications. Therefore, Stenotrophomonas rhizophila SPA-P69 was applied as seed coat...
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Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
Chapter
The excessive application of synthetic pesticides and agrochemicals during the last decades has caused serious environmental as well as health problems. Therefore, new and safer methods are needed to replace existing pathogen control strategies and to ensure food production in the twenty-first century. The application of microbial antagonists is a...
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The microbiome research field is rapidly evolving, but the required biobanking infrastructure is currently fragmented and not prepared for the biobanking of microbiomes. The rapid advancement of technologies requires an urgent assessment of how biobanks can underpin research by preserving microbiome samples and their functional potential.
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Pesticide application can be accompanied by harmful non-target effects that affect humans, animals, as well as whole ecosystems. However, such effects remain mainly unaddressed in connection with microorganisms, and especially bacteria therein, which are essential for ecosystem functioning and host health. We analysed bacterial communities by seque...
Preprint
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Background The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not only globally caused a high number of causalities, but is also an unprecedented challenge for scientists. False-positive virus detection tests not only aggravate the situation in the healthcare sector, but also provide ground for conspiracy theorists. Previous studies have highlighted the importance...
Article
Full-text available
The seed microbiota of plants was recently identified as an important reservoir of beneficial microorganisms that can be vertically transferred across different generations. However, natural factors as well as agricultural practices that influence the community composition in seeds remain unknown. In the present study, Nicotiana tabacum was impleme...