Cross-enrichment of rhizobacteria improves iron nutrition during intercropping

Intercropping, the system of growing at least two crops simultaneously, increases crop productivity and ecological sustainability. An intercropping system of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and maize (Zea mays) has been previously found to improve the yield of peanut, specifically its iron nutrition and photosynthetic efficiency. Here, Wang et al. investigated the role of the rhizosphere microbiome in the increased iron nutrition observed in peanut/maize intercropping systems. They used 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to explore the microbiome communities of peanut and maize in monocropping and intercropping systems. They found a convergence between maize and peanut microbiomes in the intercropping system. Interestingly, siderophore-producing Pseudomonas spp. was cross-enriched from maize to peanut and found to be associated with improved iron nutrition in peanut. The authors conclude that the improved yield of peanut observed in the peanut-maize intercropping system is associated with the cross-enrichment of rhizosphere microbiomes from maize. These findings highlight the potential role of rhizosphere microbiomes in intercropping systems and provide insights into the possibility of exploring such systems to boost crop yield and productivity.  (Summary by Abdulkabir Omeiza Abdulmalik @Omeiza_PlantDoc) Nature Comms. 10.1038/s41467-024-45207-0