Insight: Phyllosphere microbiology: at the interface between microbial individuals and the plant host (New Phytol)

A bean leaf might not look big to us, but to a bacterium it is huge: authors Remus-Emsermann and Schlechter point out that in terms of scale, a microbe is to a leaf as a human is to the island of Trinidad. Like an island, a leaf has diverse inhabitants and provides diverse microhabitats. Much of what we know about phyllosphere microbiology comes from population-wide studies, which the authors argue need to be complemented by single-cell studies. They then describe some of the methods (and their limitations) for single-cell resolution studies of bacteria on leaves, and call for a greater focus on bacterial individuality. (Summary by Mary Williams). New Phytol. 10.1111/nph.15054