A new study published in the journal Nature has suggested that manipulating the plant microbiome could improve agriculture. The study found that when plants are in close proximity to beneficial bacteria, they are better able to withstand environmental stressors such as drought and pests.
The findings could have implications for precision agriculture, in which crops are grown in carefully-controlled conditions to optimize yields. By manipulating the plant microbiome, it may be possible to improve crop resilience and increase yields even under challenging environmental conditions.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Francis Crick Institute and the John Innes Centre in the UK. The team used a combination of genetic and biochemical tools to study the relationship between plants and their microbial partners. They found that when plants were grown in close proximity to beneficial bacteria, they were better able to produce essential nutrients and resist pests and drought.
The team is now planning to carry out further research into the role of microbes in plant health and resilience. They hope to develop computational models that can help predict how different microbial communities will affect plant growth under different conditions. Such models could be used to help optimize agricultural production around the world.