Metabolic interactions in beneficial microbe recruitment by plants


This review is on metabolic interactions and beneficial microbe recruitment in plants. The authors cover the current state of the art about metabolic signalling and its effect on plant-microbe interactions, and how small molecules are involved in this. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the plant–microbe metabolic interaction paves the way towards sustainable agriculture.

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During millions of years of evolution, land plants and microorganisms have established elaborate partnerships. Microbes play essential roles in plant fitness and help plants cope with environmental challenges. Vice versa, plants provide the microbes with a niche and food. In the soil, a complex network of interactions mediated by metabolic signals drives the relationship between plants and microbes. Here, we review the roles of metabolic signaling in the plant–microbiome interaction. We discuss how plant-produced small molecules are involved in the recruitment of the microbiome. Also the microbial partners in this relationship use small molecules, such as quorum sensing molecules and volatiles for intraspecies and inter-species communication. We give an overview of the regulation of the biosynthesis, secretion and perception of both plant and microbial small molecules and discuss the examples of biotechnological approaches to engineer the plant–microbiome interaction by targeting these metabolic dialogues. Ultimately, an improved understanding of the plant–microbiome interaction and engineering possibilities will pave the way to a more sustainable agriculture.


Abedini, Jaupitre, Bouwmeester, Dong: Metabolic interactions in beneficial microbe recruitment by plants. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 2021, Volume 70, Pages 241-247.