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Frankia-actinorhizal symbiosis: a non-chemical biological assemblage for enhanced plant growth, nodulation and reclamation of degraded soils

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Actinorhizal symbiosis naturally harbours beneficial categories of diverse plant growth promoting microorganisms (PGPMs), including the Frankia species. The beneficial microorganisms can be used as efficient, non-chemical and sustainable alternatives for adopting effective soil restoration programmes and revegetation schedules in chemical and industrial-contaminated sites, including treating degraded lands contaminated with toxic chemicals and pesticides. It has been proposed that the interactions between the microbial gene pool are of immense agricultural significance that would facilitate an improvement in the health, hygiene and nutrient acquisition pathway of native soil. The present review is focused on exploiting the hitherto-unexplored Frankia-actinorhizal symbiosis with due interest for their application in soil restoration programmes, including the reclamation of degraded lands. This opens up new insights for the development of sustainability in forestry and plantation research. Additionally, it would promise an improvement in plant growth and vigour, hygiene, and other parameters related to crop yield, such as plant biomass, root/shoot ratio, crop yield, and so on. Novel and putative microorganisms isolated from the actinorhizal may be used for bio-transformation of allelochemicals and toxic heavy metals into compounds with modified biological properties, opening up novel avenues for mediating microbial degradation of putative allelochemicals that would otherwise accumulate at phytotoxic levels in soil. Endophyte-host specificities, the phylogeny of Frankia, and the conservation of unique endemic plant genetic resources like actinorhizal plants, are of paramount significance in the advancement of genomics, metabolomics and phenomics.

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Data Availability

All data is provided in tables and figures.



Adenosine triphosphate


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi


Biological nitrogen fixation

CgAUX1 :

Auxin influx carrier


The root hair deforming factor


NIN activating factor


The Convention on Biological Diversity


Cellulose degrading microorganisms


Extracellular plant growth promoting rhizobacteria




Electron transport chain

hbs :



Indole-3-acetic acid


Induction of systematic resistance


Intracellular plant growth promoting rhizobacteria


The glutamine synthetase-glutamate synthase cycle


Potash mobilising microorganisms


Nod factors


Nitrogen fixing microorganisms

PGP traits:

Plant growth promoting traits


Plant growth promoting microorganisms


Polyaromatic hydrocarbon


Phosphate solubilising microorganisms


Reactive oxygen species


Zinc solubilising microorganisms


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For logistics and support, the authors thank the Principal, NNS College, Titabar, Jorhat, Assam, India. PNB and NFI also appreciated the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, for granting research funds for Institutional Biotech Hub (BT/NER/143/SP44344/2021) at NNS College, under NER Biotech Hub Programme.


No funding was received for conducting this study.

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Authors and Affiliations



PNB: Conception and design of the research, initial data collection and compilation, analysis and interpretation of data and preparation of the original draft, revised, formatted and submission.

NFI: Revised the original manuscript, data collection, and formatted.

BS: Data collection and assisted in the preparation of the original draft, revised and formatted.

BCN: Revised the original draft and formatted.

LKTAA: Revised the original draft and data validation.

DL: Revised the original draft and formatted.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pranaba Nanda Bhattacharyya.

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Bhattacharyya, P.N., Islam, N.F., Sarma, B. et al. Frankia-actinorhizal symbiosis: a non-chemical biological assemblage for enhanced plant growth, nodulation and reclamation of degraded soils. Symbiosis 92, 1–26 (2024).

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