About this Research Topic
Seeds are not only the carriers of the DNA of a newly formed plant generation; they also form complex associations with micro-organisms. The seed associated microbes or “seed microbiome” can be vertically carried over to a new generation of plants and have therefore implications to plant health. Members of the microbiome can be pathogens as well as beneficial endophytes. Seed microbiome studies range from developing detection methods to the determination of their ecological importance for host plants. For the seed industry, it is important that seeds can be treated to either remove unwanted microbes and thatbeneficial microbes can be added to ensure seeds’ health and stimulate the growth of seedlings. By studying the natural interactions between the seed microbiomes and the plant and by making use of the seed microbiome, we can focus on healthy seeds, seedlings and plants, which is essential for global seed trade and healthy crops.
Healthy seeds are of global importance and understanding the role of the seed microbiome in plant health is key. The worldwide seed trade is necessary to ensure enough crops are produced to feed the up-growing population. Not only do we need to breed resistant and smart crops, but healthy seeds too – as it is the first requisite to grow many of the staple foods, fibers and almost all vegetables and ornamentals. Seeds can be produced to contain the best hybrid embryo but also in such a way that it is free of diseases, contain beneficial endophytes and ensures a healthy start of a seedling. Further study and understanding of the natural role of seed associated microbes (e.g. viroids, viruses, bacteria and fungi), their transmission, and detrimental or beneficial effect on the seed will help to produce healthier seed. Understanding the relationship between the seed microbiome and primed plant resistance is another important goal. The smart use of the seed microbiome, for example seed microbiome transplantations or using smart microbiome compositions, can also help to reduce the use of biocides or other chemicals and enrich the soil biodiversity and its resilience.
This Research Topic focuses on studies (including e.g. original research, perspectives, minireviews, commentaries and opinion papers) that investigate and discuss the following:
• Factors controlling the seed microbiome
• Seed borne endophytes and plant health
• The discovery and detection of seed transmitted microbes
• Seed microbiome and metagenomics
• The ecological impacts of the seed microbiome on seeds and plants
• Seed microbiome and plant transgenerational effects
• Seed pathology and the epidemiology of seed borne diseases
• Seed disinfection and cleaning techniques
• Seed microbiome engineering and seed enhancement
Keywords: Microbiome, seed, plant health
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