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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Drought-Tolerance of Wheat Improved by Rhizosphere Bacteria from Harsh Environments: Enhanced Biomass Production and Reduced Emissions of Stress Volatiles

Timmusk, Salme; Abd El-Daim, Islam Ahmed Moustafa; Copolovici, Lucian; Tanilas, Triin; Kännaste, Astrid; Behers, Lawrence; Nevo, Eviatar; Seisenbaeva, Gulaim; Stenström, Elna; Niinemets, Ülo

Abstract

Water is the key resource limiting world agricultural production. Although an impressive number of research reports have been published on plant drought tolerance enhancement via genetic modifications during the last few years, progress has been slower than expected. We suggest a feasible alternative strategy by application of rhizospheric bacteria coevolved with plant roots in harsh environments over millions of years, and harboring adaptive traits improving plant fitness under biotic and abiotic stresses. We show the effect of bacterial priming on wheat drought stress tolerance enhancement, resulting in up to 78% greater plant biomass and five-fold higher survivorship under severe drought. We monitored emissions of seven stress-related volatiles from bacterially-primed drought-stressed wheat seedlings, and demonstrated that three of these volatiles are likely promising candidates for a rapid non-invasive technique to assess crop drought stress and its mitigation in early phases of stress development. We conclude that gauging stress by elicited volatiles provides an effectual platform for rapid screening of potent bacterial strains and that priming with isolates of rhizospheric bacteria from harsh environments is a promising, novel way to improve plant water use efficiency. These new advancements importantly contribute towards solving food security issues in changing climates.

Published in

PLoS ONE
2014, volume: 9, number: 5, article number: e96086
Publisher: PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology
Abd El-Daim, Islam Ahmed Moustafa
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology
Copolovici, Lucian
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Tanilas, Triin
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Kännaste, Astrid
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Behers, Lawrence
Nevo, Eviatar
University of Haifa
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, The Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology
Stenström, Elna
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology
Niinemets, Ülo
Estonian University of Life Sciences

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action
SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Physical Chemistry
Soil Science
Inorganic Chemistry
Botany
Microbiology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0096086

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/65394