Plants and Microbes | An Efficient Microbial Duo

Drought has proved to be a major obstacle to crop success and will continue as a long-term stress factor for plants in the coming seasons like the effects of the drought stress in cotton. Fortunately, an efficient duo of plants and root microbes, like Robin and Batman, are playing a significant role in overcoming drought stress and improving plant development.

Microbes always had a very crucial role in the existence and growth of life on earth, and have a very close relationship with animals and plants.

Microbiomes, communities of microorganisms in the soil, are very important for plant’s health, said Coleman-Derr.

A researcher from the University of California, Coleman-Derr, is studying how drought affects the microbiomes of sorghum, recently represented the results of his research at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting.

Drought and Microbiomes

The results showed that bacteria living in the sorghum roots, an animal feed crop, work with the plant to reduce the effect of drought stress. This unique combination results in the overall success of the agriculture system.

Coleman-Derr said that the plant hormones control the metabolic activities of plants and use of cellular energy; however, microbes can manipulate the plant’s cellular system and alter their metabolic activities.”

Certain bacteria and fungi are designed to live on particular plants, inhibiting the roots as a dream home. When a bacterium combines with a plant to grow in dry weather, it efficiently builds a strong relationship with them.

Almost every aspect of plant life is associated with the microbes present in the environment. To overcome the drought period, microbes associated with plants activate the entire microbiome to fulfill plant water needs.

Effect of Microbial Activity

Drought leads to a historic change in the interaction of bacteria and partner plants. Additionally, bacteria can help the plants to survive in a dry environment. Microbial activity can influence the plant hormones to stimulate root growth, which allows the plant to get more water from the soil.

Mr. Coleman-Derr, during research, focused to develop a methodology to control microbial activity to improve sorghum growth and development during drought stress.

The resistance of plants to environmental stress is an uprising issue for both farmers and researchers, especially in light of the changing global climate. New research is essential to create plants that can sustain plant productivity even in harsher environments.

“It is accepted that microbiome keeps changing over-time, several researches have shown that several soil bacteria’s have positive effects on plant growth, however, it is still not known that either we can control the activity of microbes to improve sorghum growth,” said Coleman-Derr.

Focus of Research

Knowing the activity pattern of plant microbiomes is an important part of identifying factors that influence plant growth and productivity, meanwhile, to study microbiomes, plants proved to be an excellent study model.

In recent researches, the most focused question is the methodology to manipulate microbiomes to improve plant productivity during drought stress.

Coleman-Derr said that to develop more low-cost productive plants, it is very necessary to learn to control the microbiomes and their activity. Moreover, plants themselves use these bacteria to activate the iron available in the environment.

Source: American Society of Agronomy.

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