Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant perfumes woo beneficial bugs to their roots

Date:
April 24, 2012
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Scientists have discovered that maize crops emit chemical signals which attract growth-promoting microbes to live amongst their roots. This is the first chemical signal that has been shown to attract beneficial bacteria to the maize root environment.

Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have discovered that maize crops emit chemical signals which attract growth-promoting microbes to live amongst their roots. This is the first chemical signal that has been shown to attract beneficial bacteria to the maize root environment.

The study was led by Dr Andy Neal of Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire and Dr Jurriaan Ton of the University of Sheffield's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. By deepening our understanding of how cereals interact with microorganisms in the soil their research aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to increase cereal yields sustainably to feed a growing world population.

This research could be particularly useful in the fight against soil-borne pests and diseases. By breeding plants that are better at recruiting disease suppressing and growth promoting bacteria scientists hope to reduce agricultural reliance on fertilisers and pesticides.

The research is published April 24, 2012 in the open-access journal PLoS One.

Dr Andrew Neal, who co-led the research, said "We have known for a while that certain plants exude chemicals from their roots that attract other organisms to the area. In fact, the environment around a plant's roots teems with microorganisms and populations of bacterial cells can be up to 100 times denser around roots than elsewhere. Simple compounds such as sugars and organic acids are attractive to these microorganisms as they are a good source of energy; however other more complex chemicals were not known to serve as attractants because they were typically thought of as toxic.

"Now we have evidence that certain bacteria -- we studied a common soil bacterium called Pseudomonas putida -- use these chemical toxins to locate a plant's roots. The plant benefits from the presence of these bacteria because they make important nutrients like iron and phosphorus more available and help by competing against harmful bacteria around the root system."

The soil around a plant is awash with chemicals exuded by its roots. This makes it rich in nutrients but also potentially more toxic for microorganisms. The roots of young maize plants exude large quantities of chemicals called benzoxazinoids or 'BXs' which are known to play a role in helping the plant defend itself against pests above the ground in its stem and leaves. Dr Neal and Dr Ton found that a number of bacterial genes that are associated with movement responded to one of these BX chemicals, encouraging Psudomonas putida to migrate towards the plant. They also found that the presence of Psudomonas putida accelerated the breakdown of BX molecules suggesting that the bacteria have evolved the ability to detoxify the root environment, perhaps even using BX molecules as an energy source.

Dr Jurriaan Ton from the University of Sheffield co-led the research. He added "Our study has opened up exciting new opportunities for follow-up research. One interesting lead came from our analysis of the bacterial genes that were switched on in the presence of root -produced BX chemicals. This analysis suggested that the BX chemicals not only recruit the bacteria to the root surface, but they also activate processes in these bacteria that can help to suppress soil-borne diseases. This is really exciting as it would mean that the plant is not only recruiting beneficial microbes but also regulating how they behave."

He added "The next important step is to obtain a molecular blueprint of the microbial communities that are shaped by these root chemicals, and to investigate what beneficial impacts these microbes have on plant growth, plant health and soil quality."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew L. Neal, Shakoor Ahmad, Ruth Gordon-Weeks, Jurriaan Ton. Benzoxazinoids in Root Exudates of Maize Attract Pseudomonas putida to the Rhizosphere. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (4): e35498 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035498

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Plant perfumes woo beneficial bugs to their roots." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424205401.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2012, April 24). Plant perfumes woo beneficial bugs to their roots. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424205401.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Plant perfumes woo beneficial bugs to their roots." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424205401.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins