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: Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer

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

Cultivation of microalgae via an innovative technology

1 hour ago

Preliminary laboratory scale studies have shown consistent biomass production and weekly a thick microalgal biofilm could be harvested. A new and innovative harvesting device has been developed for ALGADISK able to directly ...

Refined method to convert lignin to nylon precursor

2 hours ago

A new study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrates the conversion of lignin-derived compounds to adipic acid, an important industrial dicarboxylic acid produced for its use as ...

Living in the genetic comfort zone

17 hours ago

The information encoded in the DNA of an organism is not sufficient to determine the expression pattern of genes. This fact has been known even before the discovery of epigenetics, which refers to external ...

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.