Why are flowers ephemeral? Effects of old flower microbes on fruit set in a wild ginger with one-day flowers, Alpinia japonica (Zingiberaceae) [article]

Nuria Jiménez Elvira, Masayuki Ushio, Shoko Sakai
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
AbstractFlowers are colonized by and inhabited by diverse microbes. Plants rapidly replace flowers of short lifespan, and old flowers senesce. This may contribute to avoiding adverse effects of the microbes. In this study, we investigate if the flower microbial community on old flowers impedes fruit and seed production in a wild ginger with one-day flowers. We inoculated newly opened flowers with old flower microbes, and monitored the effects on fruit and seed set. We also assessed prokaryotic
more » ... ommunities on the flowers using amplicon sequencing. We found five bacterial amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) whose proportions were increased on the inoculated flowers. These ASVs were also found on flower buds and flowers that were bagged by net or paper during anthesis. Fruit set was negatively associated with the proportions of these ASVs, while seed set was not. The results suggest that old flowers harbor microbial communities different from those at anthesis, and that the microbes abundant on old flowers negatively affect plant reproduction. Though the short lifespan of flowers has gotten little attention, it might be an essential defense mechanism to cope with antagonistic microbes that rapidly proliferate on the flowers.
doi:10.1101/2021.06.28.450259 fatcat:nig7wgxefngklhqrtrahdyl3ki