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Beneficial Plant-Bacterial Interactions
2015, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-13921-0_1

Introduction to Plant Growth-promoting Bacteria

Bernard R. Glick

Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.


The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834) was a British cleric and scholar who became widely known for his theories about changes in the world’s population. He promulgated the idea that “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.” That is, Malthus understood that sooner or later, the earth, which is finite, would be unable to produce enough food to feed all of the people who live here. Malthus’ thinking was in direct opposition to the view that was popular in eighteenth-century Europe that society would continue to improve and was in principle “perfectible.” Of course, neither Malthus nor any of his critics could have possibly predicted the enormous technological changes, including changes to agricultural and food storage technologies, that have taken place over the past 150–200 years. These changes have enabled the world’s population to expand dramatically in a relatively short period of time. However, these technological changes may have lulled us into a sense of false security whereby many people in society, especially in more developed countries, believe that we have never had it so good, and as long as our policies continue to support innovation and business expansion, the good life will continue on well into the future. Unfortunately, at this juncture, the threat of insufficient food to feed all of the world’s people is once again in the headlines.


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