Authors: A. Postiglione, A. Prigioniero, D. Zuzolo, M. Tartaglia, P. Scarano, M. Maisto,  M.A. Ranauda,  R. Sciarrillo, S. Thijs, J.  Vangronsveld, C. Guarino


  • Department of Science and Technology, University of Sannio, via de Sanctis snc, 82100 Benevento, Italy
  • Environmental Biology, Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, Agoralaan, Building D, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
  • Department of Plant Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biological Sciences, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Akademicka 19, 20-033 Lublin, Poland

Publication: MDPI

Date: December, 2022

Link: Quercus ilex Phyllosphere Microbiome Environmental-Driven Structure and Composition Shifts in a Mediterranean Contex


The intra- and interdomain phyllosphere microbiome features of Quercus ilex L. in a Mediterranean context is reported. We hypothesized that the main driver of the phyllosphere microbiome might be the season and that atmospheric pollutants might have a co-effect. Hence, we investigated the composition of epiphytic bacteria and fungi of leaves sampled in urban and natural areas (in Southern Italy) in summer and winter, using microscopy and metagenomic analysis. To assess possible co-effects on the composition of the phyllosphere microbiome, concentrations of particulate matter and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined from sampled leaves. We found that environmental factors had a significative influence on the phyllosphere biodiversity, altering the taxa relative abundances. Ascomycota and Firmicutes were higher in summer and in urban areas, whereas a significant increase in Proteobacteria was observed in the winter season, with higher abundance in natural areas. Network analysis suggested that OTUs belonging to Acidobacteria, Cytophagia, unkn. Firmicutes(p), Actinobacteria are keystone of the Q. ilex phyllosphere microbiome. In addition, 83 genes coding for 5 enzymes involved in PAH degradation pathways were identified. Given that the phyllosphere microbiome can be considered an extension of the ecosystem services offered by trees, our results can be exploited in the framework of Next-Generation Biomonitoring.