Plant research seals importance of microbes for survival and growth

November 20, 2020

Scientists have revealed that plants have a 'sealing' mechanism supported by microbes in the root that are vital for the intake of nutrients for survival and growth.

Plant Scientists from the Future Food Beacon at the University of Nottingham have demonstrated that the mechanism controlling the root sealing in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana influences the composition of the microbial communities inhabiting the root and reciprocally the microbes maintain the function of this mechanism. This coordination of plant-microbes plays an important part in controlling mineral nutrient content in the plant. The study has been published online by the journal Science.

Gabriel Castrillo of the Future Food Beacon and lead author on the research said: "In mammals the specialized diffusion barriers in the gut are known to coordinate with the resident microbiota to control nutrient flow. Although similar regulatory mechanisms of nutrient diffusion exist in plant roots, the contribution of the microbes to their function was unknown until now.

This study has, for the first time, shown the coordination between the root diffusion barriers and the microbes colonising the root. They combine to control mineral nutrient uptake in the plant, which is crucial for proper growth and reproduction. Understanding this could lead to the development of plants more adapted to extreme abiotic conditions, with an enhanced capacity for carbon sequestration from the atmosphere. Alternatively, plants with a high content of essential mineral nutrients and the capability to exclude toxic elements could be developed."

All living organisms have evolved structures to maintain a stable mineral nutrient state. In plant roots and animal guts these structures comprise specialized cell layers that function as gate-keepers to control the transfer of water and vital nutrients.

To perform this function, it is crucial that cells forming these layers are sealed together. These seals need to maintain integrity in the presence of local microbial communities. In animals, microbes inhabiting the gut are known to influence the intestinal sealing and, in some cases, this can cause diseases.

In roots, two main sealing mechanisms have been found: Casparian Strips, which seal cells together, and suberin deposits that influence transport across the cell plasma membrane. This research shows how these sealing mechanisms in multicellular organisms incorporate microbial function to regulate mineral nutrient balance.

Food security represents a pressing global issue. Crop production must double by 2050 to keep pace with global population growth. This target is even more challenging given the impact of climate change on water availability and the drive to reduce fertilizer inputs to make agriculture become more environmentally sustainable. In both cases, developing crops with improved water and nutrient uptake efficiency would provide a solution and this. This discovery could lead to the development of new microbial approaches to control nutrient and water diffusion, presenting new opportunities to design more resilient crops, new feeding strategies and possible ways to harness carbon dioxide through carbon sequestration.
-end-


University of Nottingham

Related Microbes Articles from Brightsurf:

A new look at deep-sea microbes
Microbes found deeper in the ocean are believed to have slow population turnover rates and low amounts of available energy.

Microbes might manage your cholesterol
Researchers discover a link between human blood cholesterol levels and a gene in the microbiome that could one day help people manage their cholesterol through diet, probiotics, or entirely new types of treatment.

Can your gut microbes tell you how old you really are?
Harvard longevity researchers in collaboration with Insilico Medicine develop the first AI-powered microbiomic aging clock

What can be learned from the microbes on a turtle's shell?
Research published in the journal Microbiology has found that a unique type of algae, usually only seen on the shells of turtles, affects the surrounding microbial communities.

Life, liberty -- and access to microbes?
Poverty increases the risk for numerous diseases by limiting people's access to healthy food, environments and stress-free conditions.

Rye is healthy, thanks to an interplay of microbes
Eating rye comes with a variety of health benefits. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland now shows that both lactic acid bacteria and gut bacteria contribute to the health benefits of rye.

Gut microbes may affect the course of ALS
Researchers isolated a molecule that may be under-produced in the guts of patients.

Gut microbes associated with temperament traits in children
Scientists in the FinnBrain research project of the University of Turku discovered that the gut microbes of a 2.5-month-old infant are associated with the temperament traits manifested at six months of age.

Gut microbes eat our medication
Researchers have discovered one of the first concrete examples of how the microbiome can interfere with a drug's intended path through the body.

Microbes can grow on nitric oxide
Nitric oxide (NO) is a central molecule of the global nitrogen cycle.

Read More: Microbes News and Microbes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.