About this Research Topic
The growing human population has drastically reduced agricultural land per capita during the last few decades. As horizontal expansion of crop production is limited, alternative measures need to be employed to maximize crop growth to ensure global food security. Although originally viewed as a panacea for agriculture, the continual use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides has resulted in a loss in soil quality in many regions of the world. In addition, nutrient use efficiency still remains low for many added nutrients (e.g. N, S, P). Thus, an integrated approach for agriculture with a reduced reliance on agrochemicals is essential to sustain civilization and agroecosystem health. Plant-associated and growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) reside in close vicinity of plants (rhizosphere, phyllosphere) and are naturally selected communities through evolution. The targeted application of plant-associated beneficial microbes in crop production systems could help support more environmentally-friendly crop production systems reducing atmospheric pollution (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions), improving water quality (e.g. from reduced N and P losses), enhancing crop quality, promoting soil health and creating more biodiverse agricultural systems. This can only be achieved, however, if we understand the basis of plant-microbe interactions. Ultimately, advances in agronomic approaches, selection of suitable crop cultivars, and personalized microbiome will enable us to enhance biotic and abiotic stress tolerance to build resilience in cropping systems.
Plant-associated beneficial microbes can promote crop production, induce defense response, and promote growth under stress conditions. These microbes produce a wide range of bioactive compounds and plant growth regulators to elicit physiochemical changes and biochemical processes under environmental stress. These fundamental processes involve oxidative defense pathways, signal transduction cascades, secondary metabolite production, and altered nutrient uptake alongside maintaining the integrity of photosystems. In this Research Topic, we invite cutting edge research on plant-microbe interactions, focusing on the importance of the underlying physicochemical processes induced by PGPMs in the context of sustainable agriculture. We aim to improve our understanding of the mechanisms and functions of microbes in agriculturally important crops.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
• Mechanistic understanding of high throughput molecular techniques to decode plant-microbe interactions (beneficial or pathogenic) for sustainable agriculture
• Biofortification and molecular plant nutrition: microbe mediated plant nutrition for improving agricultural products
• Detection and characterization of plant-related microbiome with antifungal /pesticidal properties
• Role of microbes in biotic and abiotic stress resilience of plants
• Effective strategies/ agronomical practices for improving crop productivity using beneficial microbes
• Emerging microbial technologies to improve crop productivity and nutrient use efficiency
• Microbial-assisted reclamation of heavy metals, pesticide contamination and its effect on plant health and crop productivity
• Microbes mediated improvement in photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, water relation and elemental uptake in plants
Keywords: plant associated microbes, stress tolerance, plant physiology and biochemistry, bio-stimulants
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