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Review article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Protists: Puppet Masters of the Rhizosphere Microbiome

Gao, Zhilei; Karlsson, Ida; Geisen, Stefan; Kowalchuk, George; Jousset, Alexandre


The rhizosphere microbiome is a central determinant of plant performance. Microbiome assembly has traditionally been investigated from a bottom-up perspective, assessing how resources such as root exudates drive microbiome assembly. However, the importance of predation as a driver of microbiome structure has to date largely remained overlooked. Here we review the importance of protists, a paraphyletic group of unicellular eukaryotes, as a key regulator of microbiome assembly. Protists can promote plant-beneficial functions within the microbiome, accelerate nutrient cycling, and remove pathogens. We conclude that protists form an essential component of the rhizosphere microbiome and that accounting for predator-prey interactions would greatly improve our ability to predict and manage microbiome function at the service of plant growth and health.

Published in

Trends in Plant Science
2019, Volume: 24, number: 2, pages: 165-176

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    SLU Plant Protection Network

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