Recent Posts

Rhizosphere microbiome protects plants from a pathogen via iron competition (Nature Microbiol)

Iron is an essential element for most living organisms, including plant-associated bacteria. As iron is insoluble in most soils, many soil-borne bacteria scavenge iron using siderophores, a chemically diverse group of secondary metabolites with a high affinity for iron. Siderophores are known to drive…

Fungal antagonism of Arabidopsis oomycete infection requires a previously uncharacterized secreted hydrolase (bioRxiv)

Antagonist interactions between microbes of the phyllosphere stabilize the microbiome and some “hub” organisms can exert strong effects on community structure. The yeast family Ustilaginales contains several apathogenic species that are microbial antagonists that can inhibit infection from diverse…

A molecular toolkit for screening elite rhizobia (PNAS)

N2-fixing rhizobia bacteria are able to establish symbiotic interactions with legumes in specialized organs called root nodules. Identifying elite rhizobia that are both competitive for nodule occupancy and effective in N2 fixation in agricultural environments is crucial for maximizing the yield of legumes.…

How plants keep their microbiota healthy (Nature)

The large apoplastic intercellular space of plant leaves creates nutrient-rich niches for microbial colonization. To date, whether and how plants control the composition of leaf microbiota is poorly understood. Chen et al. reported that the Arabidopsis quadruple mutant (min7fls2efrcerk1 or mfec)…

Rhizosphere microbiome mediates systemic root metabolite exudation ($) (PNAS)

Roots exude metabolites that affect the composition and activities of their microbiome. Korenblum et al. show that the microbiome in turn affects metabolite exudation, not only locally but also systemically (shown using a split-root system). They call this response SIREM: systemically induced root exudation…

Opinion. A return to the wild: Root exudates and food security (Trends Plant Sci)

My dog is a fantastic companion, but it’s obvious he could never fend for himself; domestication has eliminated his ancestral survival skills. Likewise, most crop plants thrive under human care, but have lost many of the traits that would help them survive in harsh conditions. Preece and Peñuelas…

Successive passaging of plant associated microbiome reveals robust habitat and host genotype-dependent selection (PNAS)

Study of the plant microbiome can contribute to sustainable agricultural systems through improvements to plant health and nutrition. One goal has been to select and design microbiome communities for specific functions. In a recent article, Morella et al. have used an experimental evolution approach to…

Root development is maintained by specific bacteria-bacteria interactions (bioRxiv)

Understanding plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions is challening. Both kinds of interactions have significant impacts on plant health and nutritional uptake. Finkel et al. address how microbe-microbe interactions shape plant phenotypes by using the synthetic microbial community (SynCom) consisting…

Rhizosphere microbiota structure alters to enable wilt resistance in tomato (Nature Biotech. - $)

Plants are frequently attacked by pathogens, but the pathogen-resistance is often attributed to the host. While interactions between the plant and its microbiota are recognized for their role in plant growth, their role in pathogen resistance is unknown. Kwak et al. studied the effect of soil-borne pathogen Ralstonia…