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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Insights into the seed microbiome and its ecological significance in plant life

War, Aadil Farooq; Bashir, Iqra; Reshi, Zafar A.; Kardol, Paul; Rashid, Irfan


In recent years, the microbiome has attracted much attention because of the multiple roles and functions that microbes play in plants, animals, and human beings. Seed-associated microbes are of particular interest in being the initial microbial inoculum that affects the critical early life stages of a plant. The seed-microbe interactions are also known to improve nutrient acquisition, resilience against pathogens, and resistance against abiotic stresses. Despite these diverse roles, the seed microbiome has received little attention in plant ecology. Thus, we review the current knowledge on seed microbial diversity, community structure, and functions obtained through culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches. Furthermore, we present a comprehensive synthesis of the ecological literature on seed-microbe interactions to better understand the impact of these interactions on plant health and productivity. We suggest that future research should focus on the role of the seed microbiome in the establishment, colonization and spread of plant species in their native and non-native ranges as it may provide new insights into conservation biology and invasion ecology.


Seed microbiome; Microbiome assembly; Conservation biology; Invasion ecology; Plant growth promotion; Plant-microbe interactions

Published in

Microbiological Research
2023, Volume: 269, article number: 127318

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    SLU Plant Protection Network

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