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Desert farming forms bacterial communities that promote drought resistance

Date:
October 31, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
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 new research.

Plant root colonization experiments performed with a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain isolated from the pepper rhizosphere genetically labeled with a gfp. (A) and (B) colonization of Arabidospis thaliana rhizoplane.
Credit: Marasco et al. A Drought Resistance-Promoting Microbiome Is Selected by Root System under Desert Farming. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e48479 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048479

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.

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Symbiotic relationships 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 drought resistance by bacteria can have important applications, for instance, in retaining high yields from plants even in the presence of lower irrigation. "


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The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ramona Marasco, Eleonora Rolli, Besma Ettoumi, Gianpiero Vigani, Francesca Mapelli, Sara Borin, Ayman F. Abou-Hadid, Usama A. El-Behairy, Claudia Sorlini, Ameur Cherif, Graziano Zocchi, Daniele Daffonchio. A Drought Resistance-Promoting Microbiome Is Selected by Root System under Desert Farming. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e48479 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048479

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Desert farming forms bacterial communities that promote drought resistance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031214140.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, October 31). Desert farming forms bacterial communities that promote drought resistance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031214140.htm
Public Library of Science. "Desert farming forms bacterial communities that promote drought resistance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031214140.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

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