The Gram-positive side of plant–microbe interactions

We summarize the present knowledge of the beneficial and detrimental interactions of Gram-positive bacteria with plants to underline the importance of this particular group of bacteria

Isolde Francis; Marcelle Holsters; Danny Vereecke

2009

Scholarcy highlights

  • The surfaces and surroundings of plants form a nutrient-rich habitat for complex microbial populations that can positively or negatively influence plant health and growth
  • The most extensively studied bacteria interacting with plants are Gram-negatives because they are readily isolated from plant tissues, handled, and amenable to genetic approaches
  • The Gram-positive counterpart of the rhizobia-legume symbiosis is the interaction between actinobacterial Frankia spp. and non-legumes of taxonomically diverse groups of angiosperms, mainly woody shrubs and trees that grow as pioneer plants in poor soils
  • The economic importance of most plant diseases caused by Gram-positives has emphasized the dark side of this group of bacteria, but their potential for agricultural applications is meaningful
  • The great versatility of the secondary metabolism of many Gram-positive bacteria makes them very suitable as biocontrol organisms against insects, nematodes, fungi and other bacteria, and their broad catabolic capacities provide a basis for their use as bioremediation agents
  • The annual contribution of these actinorhizal plants to the total amount of fixed nitrogen is estimated to be no less than 25% in terrestrial ecosystems
  • With the continued depletion of stratospheric ozone, the amount of UV-B reaching the earth's surface may cause a population shift to favour Gram-positive populations within the plant phyllosphere, because pigmentation and endospore production render them more resistant against UV radiation and elevated temperatures

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