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Root–soil–microbe interactions mediating nutrient fluxes in the rhizosphere

Paterson, E. and Mwafulirwa, L. ORCID: (2020) Root–soil–microbe interactions mediating nutrient fluxes in the rhizosphere. In: Gupta, V. V. S. R. and Sharma, A. K. (eds.) Rhizosphere Biology: Interactions Between Microbes and Plants. Rhizosphere Biology (5). Springer, pp. 75-91. ISBN 9789811561245

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-6125-2_3


Plant roots have both direct and indirect effects on nutrient availabilities and fluxes in rhizosphere soil. Direct effects include impacts that are a consequence of root growth, water/nutrient uptake and secretion of compounds that promote solubility of poorly available elements such as phosphorus and iron. Indirect effects are largely a consequence of plant–microbe interactions, mediated by the release of organic compounds from roots that both shape rhizosphere microbial community structure and promote microbial nutrient cycling activity. In recent years, significant advances have been made in the quantification of root-mediated impacts on soil biogeochemical processes, demonstrating the importance of these interactions for nutrient cycling to support plant productivity and as a critical control point for the response of soils to environmental change. This is now supplemented with an appreciation that there is a strong element of regulation, both plant and microbial, in how the underlying interactions are established and maintained. This raises the exciting possibility that management of root–microbiota interactions could be a realistic means of improving plant health and productivity, while potentially also mitigating environmental impacts. This chapter discusses progress in quantifying root impacts on soil processes and parallel advances in characterising the specificity of the plant-driven selection of associated microbiota. A clear opportunity for future research is to combine these approaches, functional -omics technologies and bioinformatics to guide next-generation crop breeding that targets both the plant and its associated microbiota (i.e. the holobiont), for productivity and resilience in sustainable agricultural systems.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:92498

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