Desert farming forms bacterial communities that promote drought resistance

Oct 31, 2012

When there is little water available for plants to grow, their roots form alliances with soil microbes that can promote plant growth even under water-limiting conditions, according to research published Oct. 31 by Daniele Daffonchio and colleagues from the University of Milan, Italy in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

between plants and soil microbial communities are critical to the health of plants. Though the effects of drought on plants are well-known, little is known about how lack of water affects the bacteria around plant roots.

In this study, the researchers grew pepper plants under conditions of limited water and analyzed the bacterial species around the roots of the plants. They found that drought stress enriched the microbial communities with bacteria capable of increasing plant photosynthesis and biomass production by up to 40% under limited water conditions.

According to Daffonchio, ""Our findings highlight that fully functional plants cannot be considered single organisms anymore, but meta-organisms of the plant and its microbiome, which promotes essential functions like resistance to water stress. The promotion of by bacteria can have important applications, for instance, in retaining high yields from plants even in the presence of lower irrigation. "

Explore further: Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

More information: Marasco R, Rolli E, Ettoumi B, Vigani G, Mapelli F, et al. (2012) A Drought Resistance-Promoting Microbiome Is Selected by Root System under Desert Farming. PLOS ONE 7(10): e48479. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048479

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Want bigger plants? Get to the root of the matter

Jun 30, 2012

Plant scientists have imaged and analyzed, for the first time, how a potted plant's roots are arranged in the soil as the plant develops. In this study, to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting on 30th ...

Soil bacteria plant bodyguards against fungal infections

May 12, 2011

With up to 33,000 ‘taxa’, plant roots are home to an unprecedentedly large diversity of bacteria. Some of these bacteria can function as a type of bodyguard for plants, protecting them against infection ...

New technique enables assessment of drought performance

Nov 12, 2008

Measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence is an effective way of determining how well plants can cope with low-water conditions. The technique described in the open access journal Plant Methods, published by BioMed Central, allows ...

Recommended for you

Model evaluates where bioenergy crops grow best

22 minutes ago

Farmers interested in bioenergy crops now have a resource to help them determine which kind of bioenergy crop would grow best in their regions and what kind of harvest to expect.

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Nov 21, 2014

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth ...

Plant immunity comes at a price

Nov 21, 2014

Plants are under permanent attack by a multitude of pathogens. To win the battle against fungi, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, they have developed a complex and effective immune system. And just as ...

Evolution: The genetic connivances of digits and genitals

Nov 20, 2014

During the development of mammals, the growth and organization of digits are orchestrated by Hox genes, which are activated very early in precise regions of the embryo. These "architect genes" are themselves regulated by ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.