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Principles of Plant-Microbe Interactions
2015, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-08575-3_3

Life of Microbes in the Rhizosphere

Ben Lugtenberg

Institute of Biology, Sylvius Laboratory, Leiden University, Sylviusweg 72, 2333 BE, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Life of microbes in the rhizosphere is best characterized as starvation for nutrients and attempts to survive. All microbes are hunting for food of which a substantial amount is supplied by the root in the form of exudate. The most successful microbes are attracted to food sources, such as to the root and to each other, by chemotaxis to specific exuded compounds. Subsequently they colonize the target organism. Specific exudate compounds can also initiate communication between organisms as the start of more specialized interactions, such as nodulation , pathogenesis, DNA transfer and the production of antibiotics. Some target organisms have developed defense reactions against such attacks which allows them to survive. All these processes are described in this chapter.


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