There is considerable evidence in the literature that beneficial rhizospheric microbes can alter plant morphology, enhance plant growth, and increase mineral content. Of late, there is a surge to understand the impact of the microbiome on plant health. Recent research shows the utilization of novel sequencing techniques to identify the microbiome in model systems such as Arabidopsis and Maize. However, it is not known how the community of microbes identified may play a role to improve plant health and fitness. There are very few detailed studies with isolated beneficial microbes showing the importance of the functional microbiome in plant fitness and disease protection. Some recent work on the cultivated microbiome in rice shows a wide diversity of bacterial species is associated with the roots of field-grown rice plants. However, biological significance and potential effects of the microbiome on the host plants are completely unknown. Work performed with isolated strains showed various genetic pathways that are involved in recognition of host-specific factors that are involved in the beneficial host-microbe interactions. The composition of the microbiome in plants is dynamic and controlled by multiple factors. In the case of the rhizosphere, temperature, pH, and the presence of chemical signals from bacteria, plants, and nematodes all shape the environment and influence which organisms will flourish. This provides a basis for plants and their microbiomes to selectively associate with one another. This update addresses the importance of the functional microbiome to identify phenotypes that may provide a sustainable and effective strategy to increase crop yield and food security.
Via Christophe Jacquet, Stéphane Hacquard