Toward a Resilient, Functional Microbiome: Drought Tolerance-Alleviating Microbes for Sustainable Agriculture

  • Venkatachalam Lakshmanan
  • Prasun Ray
  • Kelly D. Craven
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1631)


In recent years, the utilization of novel sequencing techniques opened a new field of research into plant microbiota and was used to explore a wide diversity of microorganisms both inside and outside of plant host tissues, i.e., the endosphere and rhizosphere, respectively. An early realization from such research was that species richness and diversity of the plant microbiome are both greater than believed even a few years ago, and soil is likely home to the most abundant and diverse microbial habitats known. In most ecosystems sampled thus far, overall microbial complexity is determined by the combined influences of plant genotype, soil structure and chemistry, and prevailing environmental conditions, as well as the native “bulk soil” microbial populations from which membership is drawn. Beneficial microorganisms, traditionally referring primarily to nitrogen-fixing bacteria, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, and mycorrhizal fungi, play a key role in major functions such as plant nutrition acquisition and plant resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Utilization of plant-associated microbes in food production is likely to be critical for twenty-first century agriculture, where arable cropland is limited and food, fiber, and feed productivity must be sustained or even improved with fewer chemical inputs and less irrigation.

Key words

Mycorrhiza Next-generation sequencing Phytobiome Plant-associated microbiomes Sustainable agriculture 



This work was supported by the US Department of Energy, Bioenergy Research Center, through the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. We declare no conflict of interests inherent to this submission.


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Venkatachalam Lakshmanan
    • 1
  • Prasun Ray
    • 1
  • Kelly D. Craven
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Biology DivisionThe Samuel Roberts Noble FoundationArdmoreUSA

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