Special Issue "Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2016).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Leslie A. Weston
Website
Guest Editor
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga 2678, Australia
Interests: localisation, transport, and mode of action of allelochemicals; plant rhizosphere interactions, biology; chemical ecology and genetic diversity of invasive weeds
Dr. Xiaocheng Zhu
Website
Guest Editor
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga 2678, Australia
Interests: Genetic diversity and structure; plant microstructure; allelochemicals/allelopathy and entomology; tritrophic interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The rhizosphere is defined as the narrow region (1-2 mm) that surrounds the roots of land plants. Rhizosphere activity and processes are strongly influenced by plant exudates and soil microorganisms. Plants exude various primary and secondary metabolites through the rhizoplane to the neighboring soil rhizosphere that protect the root system from soil pathogens, attract and select useful microorganisms and interact both positively and negatively with other plants, thereby promoting plant growth. The interaction between the plant rhizosphere and surrounding soil is becoming a research hotspot for chemical ecologists. Researchers are now equipped with novel technologies including Next Generation Sequencing, the use of soil profiling and microprobes for genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics studies, and sophisticated techniques for culture of novel organisms, all of which significantly accelerate our ability to conduct informative studies in soil systems, including those addressing chemical ecology in the rhizosphere, and the role of plants and microorganisms in these interactions.

Although much research has been published during the last few decades addressing soil systems, our understanding of the dynamic processes in the plant rhizosphere is still limited. Additional efforts are required to understand how plants modify and regulate the micro-ecosystem in the rhizosphere and the role of chemical signaling plant/microbial ecology.

This Special Issue intends to improve our understanding of the “interaction between plant rhizosphere and soil organisms”. Submissions could consist of research in topics including but not limited to:

  1. Diversity of soil microorganisms
  2. Rhizosphere ecology
  3. Dynamics of plant root exudation in response to soil microbial and environmental stress
  4. Co-evolution between plants and their microbial communities
  5. Genetic diversity among soil microbial communities
  6. Novel bioactive compound isolation and identification in plants and soil
  7. Allelochemical localization in plants and soil
  8. Multitrophic interactions in the rhizosphere

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the submission of research articles, reviews, as well as technical notes and communications, on these related topics.

Prof. Leslie A. Weston
Dr. Xiaocheng Zhu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • rhizosphere
  • soil microorganisms
  • allelochemicals
  • plant exudates
  • evolutionary adaptation
  • genetic diversity
  • multitrophic interactions
  • chemical ecology
  • plant root ecology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Weed Suppression and Performance of Grain Legumes Following an Irrigated Rice Crop in Southern Australia
Agronomy 2016, 6(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy6040047 - 29 Sep 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
Post-rice irrigated soils offer several potential advantages for the growth of subsequent crops, but Australian producers have often been reluctant to grow grain legumes immediately following a rice crop due to physico-chemical constraints. A field experiment was thus conducted to explore the potential [...] Read more.
Post-rice irrigated soils offer several potential advantages for the growth of subsequent crops, but Australian producers have often been reluctant to grow grain legumes immediately following a rice crop due to physico-chemical constraints. A field experiment was thus conducted to explore the potential for producing grain legumes following rice in comparison to those following a fallow during 2012 and 2013. Two grain legumes, field pea and faba bean, were sown 5, 7 and 12 weeks after rice harvest in 2013 at Yanco, NSW, and plant growth indicators and grain yield were compared. Early sowing of field pea following rice gave the best outcome, with plants flowering three weeks earlier and yielding 1330 kg·ha−1 more grain than after fallow. In contrast, faba bean yield was 35 kg·ha−1 less after rice than after fallow across the three sowing dates. Higher pea yield was consistent with the early emergence of seedlings, higher light interception and overall greater plant growth following rice. Post-rice crops also had 10-fold less weed infestation than crops in a similarly-established fallow treatment and, thus, required far less weed management. Legume crops sown at the later seeding date had significantly reduced (~50%–60%) yields compared to those of the first two sowings; this is most likely a reflection of reduced temperatures and day lengths experienced during vegetative and reproductive growth phases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms)
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Open AccessArticle
Design, Development, and Performance Evaluation of a Trash-Board Moldboard Plow for the Interaction between Soil and Straw with Two Different Water Content Levels
Agronomy 2016, 6(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy6020030 - 06 May 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
A two-year field study was conducted to investigate the performance of a lightweight trash-board moldboard plow (with and without a trash-board), as influenced by stubble height and water content. Both fields were measured for the performance of a trash-board moldboard plow when used [...] Read more.
A two-year field study was conducted to investigate the performance of a lightweight trash-board moldboard plow (with and without a trash-board), as influenced by stubble height and water content. Both fields were measured for the performance of a trash-board moldboard plow when used during the optimization of the plowing depth, the water content, and the reaction forces. The results showed that in the first year, when a trash-board was required, the results were significantly different. The fields had lower draft and reaction force in the soil with only stubble height, which was greater than that in the soil with dense straw for all water content levels. This was also observed in the second year for the whole depth. This study shows that the moldboard plow with a trash-board provided minimum draft and reaction forces with only straw and heavy straw. The results indicate that straw nearby shear significantly increased displacement for all treatments, with variance of straw nearby moldboard. Hence, the results verify that a trash-board continuously created large soil fragmentation with different water content. Straw labels create a position of straw which also allows for better results. It is important to install trash-boards with the moldboard plow for heavy straw incorporation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms)
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Open AccessArticle
Temporal Dynamics in Rhizosphere Bacterial Communities of Three Perennial Grassland Species
Agronomy 2016, 6(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy6010017 - 01 Mar 2016
Cited by 14
Abstract
Rhizodeposition is considered a primary reason for the plant identity effect. However, the detection of distinct rhizosphere bacterial communities (RBC) with different plant species has been variable. The aim of this study was to examine the potential explanations for this variability using three [...] Read more.
Rhizodeposition is considered a primary reason for the plant identity effect. However, the detection of distinct rhizosphere bacterial communities (RBC) with different plant species has been variable. The aim of this study was to examine the potential explanations for this variability using three perennial grassland species. In a Kansas field experiment, over two growing seasons, we sampled RBC during the active growth and flowering stages of Agrostis gigantea, Andropogon gerardii and Helianthus maximiliani to: (1) determine the extent of the plant identity effect among these species and if the effect was maintained over time; (2) assess if RBC showed seasonal patterns, corresponding to plant phenology; and (3) examine if soil properties were important for structuring these communities. We found that Helianthus RBC were distinct from those of Agrostis and Andropogon only when Helianthus was flowering. Further, Helianthus RBC exhibited seasonal shifts corresponding to plant phenology. In contrast, Agrostis and Andropogon RBC were similar over time and exhibited gradual non-seasonal changes in compositions. Similar results were observed when accounting for soil properties. Overall, the observance of a plant identity effect depended on the plant species and when RBC were sampled. The seasonality of RBC also depended on the plant species examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms)
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Open AccessArticle
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)-Treated Hydroponic Culture Reduces Length and Diameter of Root Hairs of Wheat Varieties
Agronomy 2015, 5(4), 506-518; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5040506 - 27 Oct 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
Wheat is an important cereal crop worldwide that often suffers from moisture deficits at the reproductive stage. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)-treated hydroponic conditions create negative osmotic potential which is compared with moisture deficit stress. An experiment was conducted in a growth chamber to study [...] Read more.
Wheat is an important cereal crop worldwide that often suffers from moisture deficits at the reproductive stage. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)-treated hydroponic conditions create negative osmotic potential which is compared with moisture deficit stress. An experiment was conducted in a growth chamber to study the effects of PEG on root hair morphology and associated traits of wheat varieties. Plants of 13 wheat varieties were grown hydroponically and three different doses of PEG 6000 (w/v): 0% (control), 0.3% and 0.6% (less than −1 bar) were imposed on 60 days after sowing for 20 days’ duration. A low PEG concentration was imposed to observe how initial low moisture stress might affect root hair development. PEG-treated hydroponic culture significantly decreased root hair diameter and length. Estimated surface area reduction of root hairs at the main axes of wheat plants was around nine times at the 0.6% PEG level compared to the control plants. Decrease in root hair diameter and length under PEG-induced culture decreased “potential” root surface area per unit length of main root axis. A negative association between panicle traits, length and dry weight and the main axis length of young roots indicated competition for carbon during their development. Data provides insight into how a low PEG level might alter root hair development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Elusive Boreal Forest Thaumarchaeota
Agronomy 2016, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy6020036 - 15 Jun 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
In recent years, Archaea have, with increasing frequency, been found to colonize both agricultural and forest soils in temperate and boreal regions. The as yet uncultured group I.1c of the Thaumarchaeota has been of special interest. These Archaea are widely distributed in mature [...] Read more.
In recent years, Archaea have, with increasing frequency, been found to colonize both agricultural and forest soils in temperate and boreal regions. The as yet uncultured group I.1c of the Thaumarchaeota has been of special interest. These Archaea are widely distributed in mature vegetated acidic soils, but little has been revealed of their physiological and biological characteristics. The I.1c Thaumarchaeota have been recognized as a microbial group influenced by plant roots and mycorrhizal fungi, but appear to have distinct features from their more common soil dwelling counterparts, such as the Nitrosotalea or Nitrososphaera. They appear to be highly dependent on soil pH, thriving in undisturbed vegetated soils with a pH of 5 or below. Research indicate that these Archaea require organic carbon and nitrogen sources for growth and that they may live both aerobically and anaerobically. Nevertheless, pure cultures of these microorganisms have not yet been obtained. This review will focus on what is known to date about the uncultured group I.1c Thaumarchaeota formerly known as the “Finnish Forest Soil” (FFS) Archaea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms)
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Open AccessReview
Root Exudation: The Ecological Driver of Hydrocarbon Rhizoremediation
Agronomy 2016, 6(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy6010019 - 09 Mar 2016
Cited by 36
Abstract
Rhizoremediation is a bioremediation technique whereby microbial degradation of organic contaminants occurs in the rhizosphere. It is considered to be an effective and affordable “green technology” for remediating soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. Root exudation of a wide variety of compounds (organic, amino [...] Read more.
Rhizoremediation is a bioremediation technique whereby microbial degradation of organic contaminants occurs in the rhizosphere. It is considered to be an effective and affordable “green technology” for remediating soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. Root exudation of a wide variety of compounds (organic, amino and fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, nucleotides, phenolic compounds, polysaccharides and proteins) provide better nutrient uptake for the rhizosphere microbiome. It is thought to be one of the predominant drivers of microbial communities in the rhizosphere and is therefore a potential key factor behind enhanced hydrocarbon biodegradation. Many of the genes responsible for bacterial adaptation in contaminated soil and the plant rhizosphere are carried by conjugative plasmids and transferred among bacteria. Because root exudates can stimulate gene transfer, conjugation in the rhizosphere is higher than in bulk soil. A better understanding of these phenomena could thus inform the development of techniques to manipulate the rhizosphere microbiome in ways that improve hydrocarbon bioremediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms)
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Open AccessReview
Extracellular Trapping of Soil Contaminants by Root Border Cells: New Insights into Plant Defense
Agronomy 2016, 6(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy6010005 - 12 Jan 2016
Cited by 16
Abstract
Soil and water pollution by metals and other toxic chemicals is difficult to measure and control, and, as such, presents an ongoing global threat to sustainable agriculture and human health. Efforts to remove contaminants by plant-mediated pathways, or “phytoremediation”, though widely studied, have [...] Read more.
Soil and water pollution by metals and other toxic chemicals is difficult to measure and control, and, as such, presents an ongoing global threat to sustainable agriculture and human health. Efforts to remove contaminants by plant-mediated pathways, or “phytoremediation”, though widely studied, have failed to yield consistent, predictable removal of biological and chemical contaminants. Emerging research has revealed that one major limitation to using plants to clean up the environment is that plants are programmed to protect themselves: Like white blood cells in animals, border cells released from plant root tips carry out an extracellular trapping process to neutralize threats and prevent injury to the host. Variability in border cell trapping has been found to be correlated with variation in sensitivity of roots to aluminum, and removal of border cell results in increased Al uptake into the root tip. Studies now have implicated border cells in responses of diverse plant roots to a range of heavy metals, including arsenic, copper, cadmium, lead, mercury, iron, and zinc. A better understanding of border cell extracellular traps and their role in preventing toxin uptake may facilitate efforts to use plants as a nondestructive approach to neutralize environmental threats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Plant Rhizosphere and Soil Organisms)
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