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Engineering plant–microbe communication for plant nutrient use efficiency

Plant nutrient use efficiency (NUE) has become a major concern in recent years as farmers and scientists strive to make agriculture more sustainable. To this end, the manipulation of plant-microbe interactions holds great potential. In this short review, Griffin et al. highlight recent findings, focusing on two approaches aimed at increasing NUE by acting on the rhizosphere environment: the engineering of plant exudates from roots to favor the growth of beneficial microbes, and the engineering of microbial communities (bioinoculants) to increase nutrient availability. Along with proof-of-concept studies to increase NUE, the authors discuss the importance of biocontainment strategies for the deployment of such technologies in the field. There is indeed a growing need to translate these kind of fundamental discoveries from a laboratory setting to the field, a process that is both technically and legally challenging. Future efforts based on recent advances in computational and synthetic biology techniques will hopefully pave the way for better NUE in a broad range of crops.

Source: plantae.org

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