Plant Microbiology

Tuning the soil for growth

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Science  20 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6386, pp. 281
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6386.281-a

Plant root chemicals manipulate microbes in the soil.

PHOTO: PHIL DEGGINGER/SCIENCE SOURCE

Plant roots in soil are often regions of high microbial activity, known as rhizospheres, where symbiosis between plants and microbes promote plant growth. The composition of rhizosphere microbiomes is influenced by diverse factors. To find out how the various chemicals in root exudate affect the rhizosphere, Zhalnina et al. examined the wild oat grass Avena barbata. At different stages of the plant's development, different chemicals were produced, and different bacteria responded to them. This “metabolic synchronization” provides insight into how plants manipulate the rhizosphere microbiome.

Nat. Microbiol. 3, 470 (2018).

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