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Trends Plant Sci. 2004 Jan;9(1):26-32.

How plants communicate using the underground information superhighway.

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Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173, USA.


The rhizosphere is a densely populated area in which plant roots must compete with invading root systems of neighboring plants for space, water, and mineral nutrients, and with other soil-borne organisms, including bacteria and fungi. Root-root and root-microbe communications are continuous occurrences in this biologically active soil zone. How do roots manage to simultaneously communicate with neighboring plants, and with symbiotic and pathogenic organisms within this crowded rhizosphere? Increasing evidence suggests that root exudates might initiate and manipulate biological and physical interactions between roots and soil organisms, and thus play an active role in root-root and root-microbe communication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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