Seed microbiota revealed by a large-scale meta-analysis including 50 plant species (New Phytol)

The study of seed microbiota is rapidly getting attention among plant scientists, given its role in modulating seed germination and plant fitness. Here, Simonin and colleagues synthesize the information from 63 studies and provide a thorough overview of this topic’s current state of the art. The authors found that only 50 plants species have at least one study of their seed microbiota. Still, microbial communities associated with seeds were highly diverse, exhibiting considerable variation between and within species. Unlike in the microbiota of other plant organs, bacterial and fungi clades were equally prevalent in seed microbiota. Four bacterial phyla (Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes) and three fungal classes (Dothideomycetes, Sordariomycetes and Tremellomycetes) were consistently found in great proportion and across various plant species. Thus, they are considered to form the seeds’ core microbiota. While the characterization of the seed microbiota is still far from being complete, this research shows emerging patterns and traces an exciting roadmap for future studies in the area. Thus, it is obligate reading for fans of seed-associated microorganisms. (Summary by Carlos A. Ordóñez-Parra @caordonezparra) New Phytol. 10.1111/nph.18037