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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Spermosphere and Rhizosphere

Author
item Kennedy, Ann

Submitted to: Soil Microbiology: Environmental and Agricultural Perspectives
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The rhizosphere and spermosphere is that area directly influenced by and influencing the plant. Despite the complexity, microorganisms in the rhizosphere and spermosphere have already demonstrated increased crop yields, suppression of pests, and improved soil quality. Research in this area needs to consider investigations to identify the characteristics of microorganisms and plants that control root and seed colonization; increase our understanding of microbial ecology to develop more effective strategies for managing the rhizosphere and spermosphere microflora; expand our view of the rhizosphere from a single root to over-lapping rhizospheres; and develop better methods to measure microbial populations and their competitive ability in the rhizosphere and spermosphere. This chapter is an overview of the rhizosphere and spermosphere and those factors which influence these areas of the plant-microbe interaction. In order to alter plant growth, the rhizosphere and spermosphere need to be considered. We have a great deal still to learn, but many more benefits to agriculture will be found with further study of the rhizosphere and spermosphere.

Technical Abstract: Our understanding of the rhizosphere and the myriad of interactions within this zone has increased greatly since the term was first introduced in 1904. Yet the rhizosphere and spermosphere are still unknown. The challenge is to understand this region of the soil root interface to manage the microorganisms, increase plant growth and reduce the negative impact of crop cultivation on the environment. In order to successfully use the rhizosphere and spermosphere in agriculture, scientists need to work toward several goals. A few of those goals may be to identify the characteristics of microorganisms and plants that control root and seed colonization; increase our understanding of microbial ecology to develop more effective strategies for managing the rhizosphere and spermosphere microflora; expand our view of the rhizosphere from a single root to over-lapping rhizospheres; and develop better methods to measure microbial populations and their competitive ability in the rhizosphere and spermosphere. The challenge is great since the rhizosphere and spermosphere are an extremely complex environment that may never be fully understood. Despite the complexity, microorganisms in the rhizosphere and spermosphere have already demonstrated increased crop yields, suppression of pests, and improved soil quality. We have a great deal still to learn, but many more benefits will be found with further study of the rhizosphere and spermosphere.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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