The Edible Plant Microbiome: Importance and Health Issues
Plants live together with microbial communities to form tight interactions that are essential for the performance and survival of the host. In recent decades, many studies have discovered a vast plant-associated microbial diversity. However, even though plants are a substantial part of a balanced diet including raw-eaten vegetables, fruits and herbs, the plant-associated microbial diversity has been largely ignored in this context. We hypothesize that the edible plant microbiome and its diversity can be important for humans as (i) an additional contributor to the diversity of our gut microbiome, and (ii) as a stimulus for the human immune system. Two specific examples for plant microbiomes, of lettuce and banana, are discussed in comparison with other relevant studies to explore these hypotheses. Moreover, the biotechnological potential of the edible plant microbiome is evaluated.
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