Monday, February 07, 2022

the whole holobiont

Microbiota are important for so-called higher organisms that depend on their less sophisticated residents, like we do, for instance, on the bacteria in our guts. This is also the case for plants, and even in several different parts of each plant. In 2020, I wrote a feature on life on leaves (now in the open archives), an aspect that has so far been less appreciated than the symbiosis below ground, especially the root nodules providing photosynthesis services.

But now I spotted a paper that studied the acquisition of microbiota by young poplar plants above and below ground, both within and outside the plant's tissues, and I found the systematic approach to the development of the holobiont (the sum of the plant and all its microbiota) appealing, so that was my excuse to revisit plant microbiota. Also, the topic is still underappreciated.

The resulting feature is out now:

How plants grow their microbiome

Current Biology Volume 32, Issue 3, 7 February 2022, Pages R97-R100

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access again one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

bean plant surrounded by tomato plants shows neighbourhood effects in its microbiome, especially if the surrounding plants are older. The photo shows the experimental setup at the end of the first month. (Photo: Kyle Meyer.)

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