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Microbes and Plant Communication

Microbes and Plant Communication

(p.129) 8 Microbes and Plant Communication
Plant Sensing and Communication
Richard Karban
University of Chicago Press

Plants recognize and protect themselves against harmful pathogens but acquire mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Plants attract or filter potential microbial colonists. They recognize highly conserved cues of microbial groups and then either attempt to destroy or facilitate those microbes. Mycorrhizal fungi absorb water and nutrients from the soil and plants provide them with carbohydrates in exchange for these resources. Colonization of plant roots by mycorrhizal is a highly orchestrated process involving mutual signaling. Many plants are limited by available nitrogen although they can acquire this resource from particular strains of bacteria. Some bacteria can fix atmospheric nitrogen and provide fixed N to plants in exchange for other resources. Leguminous plants offer specialized structures for the bacteria and these partners engage in an intricate dialogue of chemical signaling during colonization. Plants evaluate and reward more cooperative mycorrhizae and N-fixing bacteria at the expense of less profitable strains.

Keywords:   microbes, mycorrhizal fungi, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, pathogens, recognition

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