How Plants Harvest Nutrients from Microbes

“plants are farming the soil microbial community”
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plants are farming the soil microbial community”

It is not likely to be on the list of one of key benefits a grower would identify when talking about improving soil health. Howevver improving emergence, early root and crop growth and nutrient uptake are some of the benefits from Rhizophagy. Rhizophagy, is an important path in nutrient cycling and root developement. Rhizophagy is the cultivation by plant roots of microbes that live in root hairs & the surrounding soils to obtain nutrients. Growers are familiar with other better-known plant-microbe symbiotic relationships include legume-rhizobia symbiosis and mycorrhiza that live on root hairs.  The explosion in commercial biologicals in the market place including those applied to seed or during planting hold great promixse for promoting healthy crop-microbial rhizophagy. For a deeper understanding of the important role of rhizophagy on plant endophytes (the bacteria and fungi within plant tissue) and their effect on crop nutrition and productivity watch this webinar featuring, Dr. James White, Professor of Plant Pathology, Rutgers University .

Key take-aways:

  • Endophytic microbes living in & around roots stimulate root hair development,
  • Native microbes on seed (no applied antimicrobials) encourage early root hair development;
  • Need to manage soils and seeds to build up microbial communities,
  • Reduced tillage is positive for building  the topsoil microbial community.
  • Biostimulant microbes (eg Bacillus sp) participate in the rhizophagy cycle
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