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New Phytol. 2018 Jun;218(4):1327-1333. doi: 10.1111/nph.15054. Epub 2018 Mar 5.

Phyllosphere microbiology: at the interface between microbial individuals and the plant host.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand.
Biomolecular Interaction Centre, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand.


Contents Summary 1327 I. Introduction 1327 II. Individuality and the relevance of scales for the investigation of bacteria 1328 III. Bacterial aggregation and community patterning at the single-cell resolution 1329 IV. What are the effects on the plant host? 1330 V. Future directions and current questions 1331 Acknowledgements 1332 ORCID 1332 References 1332 SUMMARY: Leaf surfaces are home to diverse bacterial communities. Within these communities, every individual cell perceives its unique environment and responds accordingly. In this insight article, the perspective of the bacterial individual is assumed in an attempt to describe how the spatially heterogeneous leaf surface determines the fate of bacteria. To investigate behaviour at scales relevant to bacteria, single-cell approaches are essential. Single-cell studies provide important lessons about how current 'omics' approaches fail to give an accurate picture of the behaviour of bacterial populations in heterogeneous environments. Upcoming techniques will soon allow us to combine the power of single-cell and omics approaches.


bacterial individuality; fluorescence microscopy; heterogeneity; leaf surface; micrometre resolution; plant-microbe interactions; single-cell microbiology

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