Microbiome featured in Bionieuws Magazine


The microbiome was featured as the central theme of an article in Bionieuws Magazine (edition 12, 5 July 2024). The article includes various research outputs from MiCRop, particularly from Roeland Berendsen (The ISME Journal, 2018) and Lemeng Dong, who were both quoted in the article.

The article elaborates on the importance of the microbiome to plant characteristics, ranging from their appearance to their growth and survival. In particular, the complex plant-microbiome relationship with respect to pathogenicity is highlighted. Pathogenic microbes can infect and harm the plant, but the plant also recruits beneficial microbes which defend them from these pathogens. This lead to the hypothesis that particular soils must have higher concentrations of such beneficial microbes, and are therefore more suitable for plant growth and survival in certain conditions. This hypothesis was confirmed in Weller and Raaijmakers et al., 1997. Later research from Berendsen et al., 2018 also demonstrated that plants actively recruit these beneficial microbes against pathogenic infection.

Further down the article, Lemeng Dong expands on the theme by introducing chemical communication, the way in which plants use signal molecules to recruit their microbes. Examples are plants (in particular legumes) that use flavonoids to recruit rhizobium bacteria and plants that use strigolactones to recruit mycorrhizal fungi. The research from Lemeng Dong into soil nematodes is also cited, stating that nematode eggs can stay dormant in the soil for twenty years, but may wake when signal molecules (solanoeclepin in this case) are detected in the soil. Dong found that solanoeclepin is not produced by plants, however, and suspects that certain microbes can convert other signal molecules into solanoeclepin.

Bionieuws is a magazine aimed at biologists with the latest news from the biological field, with 20 editions appearing each year. These can be received by paper or mail if you become a member of the Netherlands Insitute for Biology, which normally costs €110 per year and €25 per year for subscribers younger than 26 years.

Link to the article as it appears in Bionieuws

Link to the website of Bionieuws