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Title: Building the crops of tomorrow: advantages of symbiont-based approaches to improving abiotic stress tolerance

The exponential growth in world population is feeding a steadily increasing global need for arable farmland, a resource that is already in high demand. This trend has led to increased farming on subprime arid and semi-arid lands, where limited availability of water and a host of environmental stresses often severely reduce crop productivity. The conventional approach to mitigating the abiotic stresses associated with arid climes is to breed for stress-tolerant cultivars, a time and labor intensive venture that often neglects the complex ecological context of the soil environment in which the crop is grown. In recent years, studies have attempted to identify microbial symbionts capable of conferring the same stress-tolerance to their plant hosts, and new developments in genomic technologies have greatly facilitated such research. Here in this paper, we highlight many of the advantages of these symbiont-based approaches and argue in favor of the broader recognition of crop species as ecological niches for a diverse community of microorganisms that function in concert with their plant hosts and each other to thrive under fluctuating environmental conditions
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. USDOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), Walnut Creek, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; IOS-0958245
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Frontiers in Microbiology; Journal Volume: 5
Frontiers Research Foundation
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS; symbiosis; abiotic stress; agriculture; plant growth promotion; plant-microbe interactions; drought