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Is the Application of Plant Probiotic Bacterial Consortia Always Beneficial for Plants? Exploring Synergies between Rhizobial and Non-Rhizobial Bacteria and Their Effects on Agro-Economically Valuable Crops

MED—Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development, Institute for Advanced Studies and Research (IIFA), University of Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7006-554 Évora, Portugal
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Life 2020, 10(3), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10030024
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 3 March 2020 / Accepted: 9 March 2020 / Published: 12 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Microbiology and Engineering)
The overgrowth of human population and the demand for high-quality foods necessitate the search for sustainable alternatives to increase crop production. The use of biofertilizers, mostly based on plant probiotic bacteria (PPB), represents a reliable and eco-friendly solution. This heterogeneous group of bacteria possesses many features with positive effects on plants; however, how these bacteria with each other and with the environment when released into a field has still barely been studied. In this review, we focused on the diversity of root endophytic rhizobial and non-rhizobial bacteria existing within plant root tissues, and also on their potential applications as consortia exerting benefits for plants and the environment. We demonstrated the benefits of using bacterial inoculant consortia instead of single-strain inoculants. We then critically discussed several considerations that farmers, companies, governments, and the scientific community should take into account when a biofertilizer based on those PPBs is proposed, including (i) a proper taxonomic identification, (ii) the characterization of the beneficial features of PPB strains, and (iii) the ecological impacts on plants, environment, and plant/soil microbiomes. Overall, the success of a PPB consortium depends on many factors that must be considered and analyzed before its application as a biofertilizer in an agricultural system. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable agriculture; plant growth promotion; endophytes; consortium; plant probiotics; field trials sustainable agriculture; plant growth promotion; endophytes; consortium; plant probiotics; field trials
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Menéndez, E.; Paço, A. Is the Application of Plant Probiotic Bacterial Consortia Always Beneficial for Plants? Exploring Synergies between Rhizobial and Non-Rhizobial Bacteria and Their Effects on Agro-Economically Valuable Crops. Life 2020, 10, 24.

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