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Review article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

The potential for plant growth-promoting bacteria to impact crop productivity in future agricultural systems is linked to understanding the principles of microbial ecology

Timmusk, Salme; Pall, Taavi; Raz, Shmuel; Fetsiukh, Anastasiia; Nevo, Eviatar


Global climate change poses challenges to land use worldwide, and we need to reconsider agricultural practices. While it is generally accepted that biodiversity can be used as a biomarker for healthy agroecosystems, we must specify what specifically composes a healthy microbiome. Therefore, understanding how holobionts function in native, harsh, and wild habitats and how rhizobacteria mediate plant and ecosystem biodiversity in the systems enables us to identify key factors for plant fitness. A systems approach to engineering microbial communities by connecting host phenotype adaptive traits would help us understand the increased fitness of holobionts supported by genetic diversity. Identification of genetic loci controlling the interaction of beneficial microbiomes will allow the integration of genomic design into crop breeding programs. Bacteria beneficial to plants have traditionally been conceived as "promoting and regulating plant growth". The future perspective for agroecosystems should be that microbiomes, via multiple cascades, define plant phenotypes and provide genetic variability for agroecosystems.


symbiotic extended phenotypes; native; harsh; and wild agricultural systems; hologenome; horizontal DNA transfer; DNA methylation; core microbiome

Published in

Frontiers in Microbiology
2023, Volume: 14, article number: 1141862

      SLU Authors

    • Associated SLU-program

      SLU Plant Protection Network
      AMR: Bacteria

      Sustainable Development Goals

      Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
      End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

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