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Plant Cell Environ. 2009 Dec;32(12):1682-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2009.02028.x. Epub 2009 Aug 11.

Plant-rhizobacteria interactions alleviate abiotic stress conditions.

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Institute of Microbiology, Friedrich Schiller University, Neugasse 25, 07743, Jena, Germany.


Root-colonizing non-pathogenic bacteria can increase plant resistance to biotic and abiotic stress factors. Bacterial inoculates have been applied as biofertilizers and can increase the effectiveness of phytoremediation. Inoculating plants with non-pathogenic bacteria can provide 'bioprotection' against biotic stresses, and some root-colonizing bacteria increase tolerance against abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity and metal toxicity. Systematic identification of bacterial strains providing cross-protection against multiple stressors would be highly valuable for agricultural production in changing environmental conditions. For bacterial cross-protection to be an effective tool, a better understanding of the underlying morphological, physiological and molecular mechanisms of bacterially mediated stress tolerance, and the phenomenon of cross-protection is critical. Beneficial bacteria-mediated plant gene expression studies under non-stress conditions or during pathogenic rhizobacteria-plant interactions are plentiful, but only few molecular studies on beneficial interactions under abiotic stress situations have been reported. Thus, here we attempt an overview of current knowledge on physiological impacts and modes of action of bacterial mitigation of abiotic stress symptoms in plants. Where available, molecular data will be provided to support physiological or morphological observations. We indicate further research avenues to enable better use of cross-protection capacities of root-colonizing non-pathogenic bacteria in agricultural production systems affected by a changing climate.

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