A growing world population and an increasing demand for greater food production requires that crop losses caused by pests and diseases are dramatically reduced. Concurrently, sustainability targets mean that alternatives to chemical pesticides are becoming increasingly desirable. Bacteria in the plant root microbiome can protect their plant host against pests and pathogenic infection. In particular, Streptomyces species are well-known to produce a range of secondary metabolites that can inhibit the growth of phytopathogens. Streptomyces are abundant in soils and are also enriched in the root microbiomes of many different plant species, including those grown as economically and nutritionally valuable cereal crops. In this review we discuss the potential of Streptomyces to protect against some of the most damaging cereal crop diseases, particularly those caused by fungal pathogens. We also explore factors that may improve the efficacy of these strains as biocontrol agents in situ, as well as the possibility of exploiting plant mechanisms that enable the recruitment of microbial species from the soil to the root microbiome. We argue that a greater understanding of these mechanisms may enable the development of protective plant root microbiomes with a greater abundance of beneficial bacteria such as Streptomyces species.
|Publication status||Published - 13 Jun 2019|