Role of Microbial Genomics in Plant Health Protection and Soil Health Maintenance
Global increase in agricultural production from a gradually decreasing and degrading land resource has placed immense pressure on the agroecosystems. Soil microbial populations are engaged in a web of interactions affecting plant fitness as well as soil quality. They are engaged in core activities ensuring the productivity as well as stability encompassing agricultural systems and natural ecosystems.
Agricultural sustainability can be improved through optimal use and management of soil fertility along with physical properties, which altogether depends upon soil biological processes and biodiversity. Soil fertility in addition to other properties, e.g., texture, aeration, available moisture, etc., known to support agricultural production has been found to depend on the biomass, metabolites, and activities of microorganisms. Hence, an understanding of microbial diversity perspectives in agricultural scenario is not only important but also useful to land upon measures which may perform as indicators of soil quality and plant productivity.
Soil microbial community structure consists of two main drivers, viz., plant type and soil type. At times the soil, while in others the plant type, happens to be the key factor determining soil microbial diversity which is intricately related to the microbial interactions in soil, interactions between microorganisms and soil in addition to microorganisms and plants. Soil microorganisms mediate the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nutrients, and trace elements by catalyzing redox reactions which moderate atmospheric composition, water chemistry, and the bioavailability of elements in soil.
Positive plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere are the core determinants of plant health and soil fertility. Plants provide specific habitats to the microbial communities, broadly categorized under the rhizosphere, phyllosphere, and endosphere. A symbiotic relationship exists between plants and associated microorganisms as well as high structural and functional diversity within plant microbiomes. Plant-associated microbes interact with their host in essential functional contexts. They can stimulate germination and growth, help plants to disease resistance, promote stress resistance, and influence plant fitness.
KeywordsMicrobes Soil Plant Restoration AM
UGC-RGNF (Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship – F1–17.1/2014–15/RGNF-2014-15-SC-UTT-70916), awarded to one of the authors (Arpna Ratnakar), is gratefully acknowledged.
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