Plant microbial diversity is suggested as the key to future biocontrol and health trends
The microbiome of plants plays a crucial role in both plant and ecosystem health. Rapid advances in multi-omics tools are dramatically increasing access to the plant microbiome and consequently to the identification of its links with diseases and to the control of those diseases. Recent insights reveal a close, often symbiotic relationship between microorganisms and plants. Microorganisms can stimulate germination and plant growth, prevent diseases, and promote stress resistance and general fitness. Plants and their associated microorganisms form a holobiont and have to be considered as co-evolved species assemblages consisting of bacterial, archaeal and diverse eukaryotic species. The beneficial interplay of the host and its microbiome is responsible for maintaining the health of the holobiont, while diseases are often correlated with microbial dysbioses. Microbial diversity was identified as a key factor in preventing diseases and can be implemented as a biomarker in plant protection strategies. Targeted and predictive biocontrol approaches are possible by developing microbiome-based solutions. Moreover, combined breeding and biocontrol strategies maintaining diversity and ecosystem health are required. The analysis of plant microbiome data has brought about a paradigm shift in our understanding of its role in health and disease and has substantial consequences for biocontrol and health issues.