, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 1007-1018,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Jul 2013

Dynamic Chemical Communication between Plants and Bacteria through Airborne Signals: Induced Resistance by Bacterial Volatiles


Certain plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) elicit induced systemic resistance (ISR) and plant growth promotion in the absence of physical contact with plants via volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. In this article, we review the recent progess made by research into the interactions between PGPR VOCs and plants, focusing on VOC emission by PGPR strains in plants. Particular attention is given to the mechanisms by which these bacterial VOCs elicit ISR. We provide an overview of recent progress in the elucidation of PGPR VOC interactions from studies utilizing transcriptome, metabolome, and proteome analyses. By monitoring defense gene expression patterns, performing 2-dimensional electrophoresis, and studying defense signaling null mutants, salicylic acid and ethylene have been found to be key players in plant signaling pathways involved in the ISR response. Bacterial VOCs also confer induced systemic tolerance to abiotic stresses, such as drought and heavy metals. A review of current analytical approaches for PGPR volatile profiling is also provided with needed future developments emphasized. To assess potential utilization of PGPR VOCs for crop plants, volatile suspensions have been applied to pepper and cucumber roots and found to be effective at protecting plants against plant pathogens and insect pests in the field. Taken together, these studies provide further insight into the biological and ecological potential of PGPR VOCs for enhancing plant self-immunity and/or adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses in modern agriculture.