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The impact of defense hormones on the interaction between plants and the soil microbial community

The soil ecosystem consists of the largest reservoir of biodiversity on Earth.

Zhang, J.
04 mei 2021
Thesis in Leiden Repository

The soil ecosystem consists of the largest reservoir of biodiversity on Earth. Microbial communities are unseen drivers in soil ecosystems and they play an important role in determining a wide variety of soil processes in terrestrial ecosystems. Soil microbial communities can influence plant performance and can drive plant species composition on a particular soil. Soil microbes are associated with an extensive range of ecosystem processes, in turn, affect plant growth. While these processes can benefit plant growth, the soil microbial community also harbors microbes that compete with plants for nutrients or are pathogenic and impair plant growth. This leads to the question if plants can manipulate the composition of the soil microbial community to their advantage.In agriculture, the physical structure of the soil is often altered to improve crop production and this modifies biological components and microbial properties of the soil. Moreover, green crop management technologies, such as regulation of soil microbial biodiversity, application of beneficial microbial agents and induction of plant hormonal resistance, are regarded as promising approaches against pests and microbial pathogens. Although many experiments have shown that activation of hormonal signaling pathways can boost a plant’s immunity against pathogenic microbial attacks, whether and how these hormonal signaling pathways affect the soil microbial community and consequently plant growth is still poorly understood. Therefore, to better understand the roles of soil microbial communities at both taxonomic and functional level, studies from a plant defensive perspective are timely and needed, and this is the main focus of this thesis.

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