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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #415560

Research Project: Improving Food Safety by Controlling Mycotoxin Contamination and Enhancing Climate Resilience of Wheat and Barley

Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: Diversity in the phyllosphere – greater than the sum of its parts?

item Whitaker, Briana

Submitted to: New Phytologist
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2024
Publication Date: 6/11/2024
Citation: Whitaker, B.K. 2024. Diversity in the phyllosphere – greater than the sum of its parts?. New Phytologist.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Over the past 20 years, next generation sequencing technologies have revolutionized the microbiological sciences. Bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, and other micro-eukaryotes have been shown to lead intimate associations with plant and animal hosts and colonize diverse environmental habitats. However, the documentation of biogeographic and taxonomic diversity of microbiomes is already undergoing another major shift – namely the manipulation of synthetic microbial communities or consortia to either better understand the mechanisms of community assembly or purposefully engineer improved functionality for the benefit of human societies. In the context of plant-microbiome associations, experimental manipulations are rapidly expanding our understanding of how microbial communities assemble, impact plant immune system function, and how plants and their microbiomes co-evolved. However, to date the majority of the work has focused on belowground (rhizosphere) and bacterial communities, at the occasional expense of aboveground (phyllosphere) and/or fungal communities. In this issue of New Phytologist, Almeida et al. (2024) demonstrated that inoculations of fungal microbiota in a synthetic consortia frequently induced non-additive impacts on a range of plant performance metrics in a species of morning glory (Ipomoea hederifolia). Ultimately, their work showed that for fungal communities in the phyllosphere, the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts.