Exploiting rhizosphere microbial cooperation for developing sustainable agriculture strategies

Abstract

The rhizosphere hosts a considerable microbial community. Among that community, bacteria called plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can promote plant growth and defense against diseases using diverse distinct plant-beneficial functions. Crop inoculation with PGPR could allow to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers in agrosystems. However, microbial crop protection and growth stimulation would be more efficient if cooperation between rhizosphere bacterial populations was taken into account when developing biocontrol agents and biostimulants. Rhizospheric bacteria live in multi-species biofilms formed all along the root surface or sometimes inside the plants (i.e., endophyte). PGPR cooperate with their host plants and also with other microbial populations inside biofilms. These interactions are mediated by a large diversity of microbial metabolites and physical signals that trigger cell–cell communication and appropriate responses. A better understanding of bacterial behavior and microbial cooperation in the rhizosphere could allow for a more successful use of bacteria in sustainable agriculture. This review presents an ecological view of microbial cooperation in agrosystems and lays the emphasis on the main microbial metabolites involved in microbial cooperation, plant health protection, and plant growth stimulation. Eco-friendly inoculant consortia that will foster microbe–microbe and microbe–plant cooperation can be developed to promote crop growth and restore biodiversity and functions lost in agrosystems.

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Notes

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Acknowledgements

Yoann Besset-Manzoni was supported by a CIFRE Ph.D grant from the Association Nationale de la Recherche et de la Technologie. Laura Rieusset received a Ph.D fellowship from the French Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche. We thank A. Buchwalter for English proofreading of this paper. This study was supported by the SymbioMaize ANR project (ANR-12-JSV7-0014-01).

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Yoann Besset-Manzoni and Laura Rieusset equally contributed to this work as first co-authors. Laura Rieusset designed the figures and tables. All authors participated in writing the manuscript and approved the final version.

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Correspondence to Claire Prigent-Combaret.

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Besset-Manzoni, Y., Rieusset, L., Joly, P. et al. Exploiting rhizosphere microbial cooperation for developing sustainable agriculture strategies. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 29953–29970 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-1152-2

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Keywords

  • Rhizosphere
  • Microbial cooperation
  • Microbial consortium
  • Microbial metabolites
  • Biocontrol
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Cell–cell communication
  • Quorum sensing