Submitted to: Rhizosphere 2004
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/10/2004
Publication Date: 9/10/2004
Citation: Thomashow, L.S., Mavrodi, D.M., Weller, D.M. 2004. Plant growth promotion and biological control: mechanisms and metabolites. Rhizosphere 2004, Munih, Germany, Book of Abstracts, p.74. (Project Plan 2).
Technical Abstract: Much of what has been learned about the rhizosphere since Hiltner's landmark address a century ago has resulted from efforts to improve plant health via manipulation of rhizosphere microbial populations. Focused on the activities of introduced strains, these studies have given insight into mechanism of plant growth promotion and microbial antagonism in the rhizosphere and provided fundamental new knowledge of the genetics, biochemistry, and regulation of synthesis of key metabolites active in these processes. Spatial, temporal and nutritional constraints to the establishment and maintenance of microbial populations has been recognized and traits contributing to strain competitiveness have been identified, establishing a genetic framework for understanding rhizosphere competence. Some of the biochemical and molecular signs that mediate communication among rhizobacteria, fungal pathogens, and plant roots are now known, and the complex regulatory networks through which they act to integrate biological processes in the rhizosphere are beginning to be unraveled. Future studies will build on this foundation, exploiting the growing body of genomic and bioinformatic resources and technological advances in bioanalytical and imaging systems to develop a comprehensive understanding of interactions between roots and their associated microorganisms at the molecular, biochemical and physiological levels. Such knowledge can be applied to better manage the indigenous rhizosphere microflora, aid in the selection of more effective microbial amendments, and guide the tailoring of microflora and their plant hosts through directed genetic manipulation to enhance crop health and productivity.