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Induced Resistance for Plant Defense: A Sustainable Approach to Crop Protection
Vol. 23, No. 2, 2014; Pages 429448

How do Beneficial Microbes Induce Systemic Resistance?

Dale R. Walters2, Adrian C. Newton3 and Gary D. Lyon4 Emily Beardon, Julie Scholes and Jurriaan Ton

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK


Classic examples of plant-beneficial microbes are symbiotic Rhizobium bacteria that fix atmospheric nitrogen in root nodules and mycorrhizal fungi that assist in the uptake of phosphate, water and other minerals in exchange for photo-assimilates from the host plant. Understanding the mechanistic basis of plant resistance remains, therefore, a critical step towards exploitation of the plant immune system for sustainable crop protection. Whilst there is ample evidence for local immune suppression by plant-beneficial microbes, their ability to elicit systemic resistance (ISR) is possibly even better documented. ISR ultimately benefits belowground microbes as healthy host plants provide more photoassimilates. More than 20 years after the initial discoveries of ISR, the ability of rhizobia, mycorrhizal fungi, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and plant growth promoting fungi (PGPF) to induce resistance is well documented.

Keywords: beneficial microbes; mycorrhizal fungi; plant growth promoting fungi (PGPF); plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR); plant immune system; systemic resistance (ISR)

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