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Microbiological Research
Volume 248, 2021, 126755

Plants-nematodes-microbes crosstalk within soil: A trade-off among friends or foes

Kanika Khannaa, Sukhmeen Kaur Kohlia, Puja Ohrib, Renu Bhardwaja

Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 143005, Punjab, India.


Plants interact with enormous biotic and abiotic components within ecosystem. For instance, microbes, insects, herbivores, animals, nematodes etc. In general, these interactions are studied independently with plants, that condenses only specific information about the interaction. However, the limitation to study the cross-interactions masks the collaborative role of organisms within ecosystem. Beneficial microbes are most prominent organisms that are needed to be studied due to their bidirectional nature towards plants. Fascinatingly, Plant-Parasitic Nematodes (PPNs) have been profoundly observed to cause mass destruction of agricultural crops worldwide. The huge demand for agriculture for present-day population requires optimization of production potential by curbing the damage caused by PPNs. Chemical nematicides combats their proliferation, but their extended usage has abruptly affected flora, fauna and human populations. Because of consistent pressing issues in regard to environment, the use of biocontrol agents are most favourable alternatives for managing agriculture. However, this association is somehow, tug of war, and understanding of plant-nematode-microbial relation would enable the agriculturists to monitor the overall development of plants along with limiting the use of agrochemicals. Soil microbes are contemporary bio-nematicides emerging in the market, that stimulates the plant growth and impedes PPNs populations. They form natural enemies and trap nematodes, henceforth, it is crucial to understand these interactions for ecological and biotechnological perspectives for commercial use. Moreover, acquiring the diversity of their relationship and molecular-based mechanisms, outlines their cascade of signaling events to serve as biotechnological ecosystem engineers. The omics based mechanisms encompassing hormone gene regulatory pathways and elicitors released by microbes are able to modulate pathogenesis-related (PR) genes within plants. This is achieved via Induced Systemic Resistance (ISR) or acquired systemic channels. Taking into account all these validations, the present review mainly advocates the relationship among microbes and nematodes in plants. It is believed that this review will boost zest and zeal within researchers to effectively understand the plant-nematodes-microbes relations and their ecological perspectives.

Keywords: Plant-parasitic nematodes, Micro-organisms, Rhizosphere, Antagonistic responses, Induced systemic resistance, Hormonal crosstalk, Secondary metabolites, Molecular signaling, Omics-based approaches.

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