Special Issue "Plant-Microbe Interactions"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Raffaella Maria Balestrini
Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection National Research Council of Italy, IPSP-CNR, Turin, Italy
Interests: cell wall; genomics and functional genomics of symbiotic fungi; mycorrhizal fungi; plant-microbe interactions; abiotic stresses
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant-associated microbiota can provide benefits to plant growth and health by influencing plant nutritional status, by positively affecting interaction with pathogens, and by modifying tolerance to abiotic (e.g., water deficit, nutrient limitation, salinity) and biotic (e.g., pests) stresses. Stimuli from pathogens, beneficial microorganisms, natural and synthetic compounds, as well as the presence of abiotic stress induce the activation in plants of a specific physiological state called “priming”, which is marked by an enhanced activation of induced defense responses. By priming, a plant prepares to more quickly or aggressively respond to subsequent biotic or abiotic stress, which results in increased resistance and/or stress tolerance. The use of root-associated microorganisms able to improve plant tolerance/resistance may be one of the new promising and sustainable strategies in agricultural systems, with a positive impact on food security and food safety in a scenario of climate change and scarcity of natural resources.

This Special Issue intends to cover the state-of-the-art and recent progress in different aspects related to the use of plant-associated microbes to increase the sustainability and resilience of crops in a wide range of cropping systems (grassland, horticultural crops, fruit trees) and in a scenario of environmental challenges due to climate change. All types of manuscripts (original research and reviews) providing new insights on the cellular and molecular aspects of plant-microbe interactions and on the application and benefits of the use of microbial inoculants in agriculture are welcome. 

Dr. Raffaella Maria Balestrini
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Root symbiosis
  • Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Rhizobia
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Priming

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Influence of Fumigation and Bacillus Subtilis-Based Biofungicide on the Microbiome of Chrysanthemum Rhizosphere
Agriculture 2019, 9(12), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9120255 - 01 Dec 2019
Abstract
Chrysanthemum is an important ornamental species in China. However, sustained monoculture often leads to a decline in soil quality, in particular to the build-up of pathogens. Fusarium wilt, a severe disease in chrysanthemum monoculture systems, was effectively controlled by fumigation and/or the application [...] Read more.
Chrysanthemum is an important ornamental species in China. However, sustained monoculture often leads to a decline in soil quality, in particular to the build-up of pathogens. Fusarium wilt, a severe disease in chrysanthemum monoculture systems, was effectively controlled by fumigation and/or the application of a biofungicide in our previous study. However, the mechanisms underlying disease suppression remain elusive. Here, a series of greenhouse experiments were conducted to characterize the effect on the chrysanthemum rhizosphere microbiome of the fumigant dazomet (DZ) and of a biofungicide based on Bacillus subtilis NCD-2 (BF). The results indicated that the BF treatment increased bacterial diversity by 4.2%, while decreasing fungal diversity by 21.3%. After two seasons of BF treatment, the abundance of microbes associated with disease suppression such as Bacillus spp. and Trichoderma spp. increased 15.1-fold and 4.25-fold more than that of the control, while the pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum was decreased by 79.20% when compared to the control. Besides, the DZ treatment reduced both bacterial and fungal diversity 7.97% and 2.73% respectively, when compared with the control. The DZ treatment controlled Fusarium wilt disease and decreased the abundance of F. oxysporum in the first year, but the abundance of the F. oxysporum was 43.8% higher after two years in treated soil than in non-treated soil. Therefore, the application of BF has a great potential for the control of Fusarium wilt disease in chrysanthemum by changing soil microbiome structure and function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Colletotrichum acutatum Pathogen on Olive Phenylpropanoid Metabolism
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080173 - 06 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Olive anthracnose caused by the hemibiotrophic fungal pathogen Colletotrichum acutatum is a serious threat to the olive sector. Olive oil and fruit production is severely constrained by Colletotrichum spp. infection, being C. acutatum the most distributed pathogen in Portuguese olive orchards. To understand [...] Read more.
Olive anthracnose caused by the hemibiotrophic fungal pathogen Colletotrichum acutatum is a serious threat to the olive sector. Olive oil and fruit production is severely constrained by Colletotrichum spp. infection, being C. acutatum the most distributed pathogen in Portuguese olive orchards. To understand the impact of C. acutatum on phenylpropanoids biosynthesis, the enzyme activity, phenolic compounds, ortho-diphenols, and flavonoids content were determined and correlated with the expression of gene encoding key enzymes within phenylpropanoids metabolism in susceptible and tolerant olive fruits, during maturation and when infected with C. acutatum. Differences between cultivars was observed, the tolerant olive cv. Picual presented a higher basal value and a stable phenolic content throughout the infection process, supporting its high C. acutatum tolerance, whereas in the susceptible olive cv. Galega these secondary metabolites were significantly increased only after the elicitation with C. acutatum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Tomato Yield, Quality, Mineral Composition and Antioxidants as Affected by Beneficial Microorganisms Under Soil Salinity Induced by Balanced Nutrient Solutions
Agriculture 2019, 9(5), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9050110 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
With the aim of assessing the effects of beneficial microorganisms on greenhouse tomato “plum” grown under salinity conditions, research was carried out in southern Italy from summer to winter, by comparing two arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) based formulates (Rizotech Plus, Myco Apply DR) [...] Read more.
With the aim of assessing the effects of beneficial microorganisms on greenhouse tomato “plum” grown under salinity conditions, research was carried out in southern Italy from summer to winter, by comparing two arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) based formulates (Rizotech Plus, Myco Apply DR) and a non-inoculated control, in factorial combination with four soil electrical conductivities (1.5, 3.0, 4.5, 6.0 mS·cm−1 EC). The highest root colonization was 83% at 3.0 mS·cm−1 under AMF-based treatments and 34% at 1.5 mS·cm−1 in non-treated control; the latter attained lower values than AMF treatments at any soil EC. Harvest occurred 3.5 days earlier in control plants, six days earlier under 6.0 mS·cm−1 EC compared to 1.5 mS·cm−1. The inoculated plants always showed higher yield than the control ones and the highest production at 4.5 mS·cm−1 EC; control plants attained the highest yield under 3.0–4.5 mS·cm−1 EC. The highest values of most fruit quality indicators, mineral elements and antioxidant compounds and activity were recorded under AMF-based formulates inoculation and 6.0 mS·cm−1 soil EC. Beneficial microorganisms proved to be an effective environmentally friendly tool for improving tomato yield and quality performances in both normal and soil salinity conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Inoculation with Mycorrhizal Fungi and Other Microbes to Improve the Morpho-Physiological and Floral Traits of Gazania rigens (L.) Gaertn
Agriculture 2019, 9(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9030051 - 08 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the present analysis, we evaluated the effect of different microbial inoculants on growth and floral responses of Gazania rigens (L.) Gaertn. Two prevailing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) i.e., Funelliformis mosseae and Acaulospora laevis, along with Trichoderma viride and Pseudomonas fluorescens, [...] Read more.
In the present analysis, we evaluated the effect of different microbial inoculants on growth and floral responses of Gazania rigens (L.) Gaertn. Two prevailing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) i.e., Funelliformis mosseae and Acaulospora laevis, along with Trichoderma viride and Pseudomonas fluorescens, were examined in a pot experiment. Independent roles of these four microbes and their different combinations were used in sixteen treatments of G. rigens. The experiment was conducted in a polyhouse with five replicates per treatment in a randomized complete block design. The results of microbial inoculants were very effective for growth yield and flowering response over the control. Early flowering was noted in the combination of F. mosseae, A. laevis and P. fluorescens, which also showed the best results for flower head size, flower fresh and dry weight, total chlorophyll, carotene and phosphorus content. Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) root colonization (%) and AM spore number were also the highest for the same treatment, whereas the number of leaves, number of buds and root length were maximum in the combined treatment (F. mosseae + A. laevis + T. viride + P. fluorescens). Overall, this study proposes that growers should consider microbial inoculants for the better yield and flower quality of G. rigens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Regional Evaluation of Fungal Pathogen Incidence in Colombian Cocoa Crops
Agriculture 2019, 9(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9030044 - 04 Mar 2019
Abstract
The production of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) in Colombia has a significant environmental and socioeconomic importance as a promissory crop in the post-conflict process. The department of Norte de Santander has cocoa crops that are dramatically affected by fungal pathogens causing important [...] Read more.
The production of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) in Colombia has a significant environmental and socioeconomic importance as a promissory crop in the post-conflict process. The department of Norte de Santander has cocoa crops that are dramatically affected by fungal pathogens causing important losses during harvest and post-harvest. Therefore, the current study focused on the determination of the incidence of diseases caused by phytopathogenic fungi in cocoa crops, and the identification of primary phytopathogenic fungi found in biological material from different farms of the region. The study was conducted in four municipalities of the department, by sampling fruits infected with frosty pod rot (FPR) and black pod rot (BPR) that presented in situ incidence ranging from 0.37 to 21.58% and from 1.75 to 35.59%, respectively. The studied hybrid materials, together with clone TSH 65, were found to be the most susceptible, while the remaining clones were more tolerant, especially CCN 51, IMC 67, and ICS95. Fifteen strains were isolated using in vitro assays and then morphologically characterized both in solid media and by microscopy. Nine of them corresponded to the pathogen Moniliophthora roreri, and other six to Phytophthora palmivora. The isolated agents showed in vitro morphological variability, as well as the ability to adapt to different environments when growing in situ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Soil-Applied Chemical Fungicide and Biofungicide for Control of the Fusarium Wilt of Chrysanthemum and Their Effects on Rhizosphere Soil Microbiota
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120184 - 23 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Chemical fungicides are a frequently used intervention for the control of the Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum, but are no longer considered environmentally friendly. However, the biofungicides offer one of the best alternatives to reduce the use of chemical fungicides. In this study, a [...] Read more.
Chemical fungicides are a frequently used intervention for the control of the Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum, but are no longer considered environmentally friendly. However, the biofungicides offer one of the best alternatives to reduce the use of chemical fungicides. In this study, a series of two-year greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate the soil-applied chemical fungicide (dazomet, DZ) and biofungicide (biocontrol agent combined with B. subtilis NCD-2, BF) for controlling the Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum and its effects on rhizosphere soil microbiota. The results indicated that DZ and BF showed good control efficacy of Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum in the two-year application evaluation. However, the DZ treatment significantly decreased the soil catalase and urease activities compared with the control, while BF showed a significant increase in bacterium/fungus ratios (B/F), soil urease and acid phosphatase activities. Abundances of potential plant pathogens F. oxysporum, Rhizoctonia zeae and Rhizoctonia solani were also lower, while potential plant-growth-promoting micro-organisms like the Rhizobiales bacterium and Mariniflexile sp. were higher in the BF treatment than in the control. Our findings suggested that the overall effect of the soil biota on chrysanthemum growth was more positive and stronger in the BF treatment than in the DZ treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Interactions of Rhizodeposits with Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria in the Rhizosphere: A Review
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070142 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
Rhizodeposits, root exudates, and root border cells are vital components of the rhizosphere that significantly affect root colonization capacity and multiplication of rhizosphere microbes, as well as secretion of organic bioactive compounds. The rhizosphere is an ecological niche, in which beneficial bacteria compete [...] Read more.
Rhizodeposits, root exudates, and root border cells are vital components of the rhizosphere that significantly affect root colonization capacity and multiplication of rhizosphere microbes, as well as secretion of organic bioactive compounds. The rhizosphere is an ecological niche, in which beneficial bacteria compete with other microbiota for organic carbon compounds and interact with plants through root colonization activity to the soil. Some of these root-colonizing beneficial rhizobacteria also colonize endophytically and multiply inside plant roots. In the rhizosphere, these components contribute to complex physiological processes, including cell growth, cell differentiation, and suppression of plant pathogenic microbes. Understanding how rhizodeposits, root exudates, and root border cells interact in the rhizosphere in the presence of rhizobacterial populations is necessary to decipher their synergistic role for the improvement of plant health. This review highlights the diversity of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) genera, their functions, and the interactions with rhizodeposits in the rhizosphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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