Several eukaryotic symbioses have shown to host a rich diversity of prokaryotes that interact with their hosts. Here, we study bacterial communities associated with ectomycorrhizal root systems of Bistorta vivipara compared to bacterial communities in bulk soil using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons. A high richness of Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) was found in plant roots (3,571 OTUs) and surrounding soil (3,476 OTUs). The community composition differed markedly between these two environments. Actinobacteria, Armatimonadetes, Chloroflexi and OTUs unclassified at phylum level were significantly more abundant in plant roots than in soil. A large proportion of the OTUs, especially those in plant roots, presented low similarity to Sanger 16S rRNA reference sequences, suggesting novel bacterial diversity in ectomycorrhizae. Furthermore, the bacterial communities of the plant roots were spatially structured up to a distance of 60 cm, which may be explained by bacteria using fungal hyphae as a transport vector. The analyzed ectomycorrhizae presents a distinct microbiome, which likely influence the functioning of the plant-fungus symbiosis.
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