About this Research Topic
The rhizosphere is an ecological hotspot. Plant roots, bacteria, archaea, fungi, nematodes, and other macroscopic organisms interact here with each other. Plants represent the main influencing force as they produce a mixture of chemical molecules and extrude them in the form of root exudates. Those exudates determine not only the nutrient availability of the plant but also influence the outcome of the interactions in the vicinity of the roots. In response to the plant-derived signals, a subset of the bulk soil microbes can proliferate in the proximity of the root and some of them can eventually overcome the plant defense system to colonize the plants.
The root-associated microbiota is assumed to be crucial for plant health, and belowground plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions can result in altered growth and nutritional quality of the aboveground plant parts. Such interactions affect community composition and productivity in natural ecosystems or crop yield in agricultural fields. Root associations with plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) producing phytohormones that alter root architecture, or produce antibiotics to suppress antagonistic pathogens, affecting nutrient availability and competition between plants are just a few among many examples of such belowground interactions in the rhizosphere. Moreover, the role of rhizosphere microorganisms in stimulating the plant immune system leading to Induced Systemic Resistance (ISR) has also been a focus of an active investigation. However, the molecular mechanisms are still largely unknown. On one hand, it has been proposed that plants actively recruit beneficial microorganisms under certain pathological conditions or influence the soil microbial communities and create a so-called “soil memory”, which is conveyed to future plant generations. On the other, the presence and interactions between microorganisms in the soil have a substantial impact on plant health.
Much remains to be revealed about the multi-functionality of the belowground interplay among soil microbes and plant roots at the level of the ecosystem and we urge experimental plant biologists, microbial ecologists, and soil scientists to take it up together. Only through the understanding of these interactions, will we be able to manage processes in this highly dynamic compartment to our benefit and enhance sustainable ecosystem functioning. To learn from natural ecosystems and to employ targeted approaches leading to enhanced plant productivity in agro-ecosystems will be of tremendous importance in the coming years and decades.
This Research Topic welcomes Reviews, Opinion and Original Research articles that provide new insights into the ecology and molecular biology of interactions in the rhizosphere and the rhizomicrobiota.
In particular (but not limited to), we welcome:
1. Studies revealing mechanisms of plant-bacteria and bacteria-bacteria communication in the rhizosphere using models as well as crop plants.
2. Studies with focus on plant-fungi, fungal-bacterial and tripartite interactions in the rhizosphere.
3. Studies with a focus on plant-archaea, archaea-bacteria or tripartite interactions in the rhizosphere.
4. Studies on plant microbiome and plant-soil feedback to suppress pathogenic bacteria and fungi in agroecosystems.
5. Studies on how the rhizosphere microbiome structure and function are influenced by soil, plant, beneficial inoculants or agricultural practices and their underlying mechanisms.
6. Studies on the impact of agricultural practices on the microbiome of soil and its association with plant productivity.
This Research Topic aims to gather a comprehensive view of the interactions in the rhizosphere and present to the readers an updated picture in this quickly evolving subject.
Keywords: Rhizosphere, Microbiome, Bacterial Communication, Fungal Community, Plant-Soil Feedback
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.