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Desert farming forms bacterial communities that promote drought resistance

Photo credit: Science Daily

Plant root colonization experiments performed with a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain isolated from the pepper rhizosphere genetically labeled with a gfp. (A) and (B) colonization of Arabidospis thaliana rhizoplane.
Credit: Marasco et al. A Drought Resistance-Promoting Microbiome Is Selected by Root System under Desert Farming. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e48479 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048479

A Drought Resistance-Promoting Microbiome Is Selected by Root System under Desert Farming

by Ramona Marasco, Eleonora Rolli, Besma Ettoumi, Gianpiero Vigani, Francesca Mapelli, Sara Borin, Ayman F. Abou-Hadid, Usama A. El-Behairy, Claudia Sorlini, Ameur Cherif, Graziano Zocchi, Daniele Daffonchio

in PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e48479 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048479

When there is little water available for plants to grow, their roots form alliances with soil microbes that can promote plant growth even under water-limiting conditions, according to research published Oct. 31 by Daniele Daffonchio and colleagues from the University of Milan, Italy in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Symbiotic relationships between plants and soil microbial communities are critical to the health of plants. Though the effects of drought on plants are well-known, little is known about how lack of water affects the bacteria around plant roots.

In this study, the researchers grew pepper plants under conditions of limited water and analyzed the bacterial species around the roots of the plants. They found that drought stress enriched the microbial communities with bacteria capable of increasing plant photosynthesis and biomass production by up to 40% under limited water conditions.

See the text: Science Daily

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.