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Scientists engineer plant microbiome for the first time to protect crops against disease and cut use of pesticides


by University of Southampton
Scientists have engineered the microbiome of plants for the first time, boosting the prevalence of 'good' bacteria that protect the plant from disease. The findings published in Nature Communications by researchers from the University of Southampton, China and Austria, could substantially reduce the need for environmentally destructive pesticides.

There is growing public awareness about the significance of our microbiome—the myriad of microorganisms that live in and around our bodies, most notably in our guts. Our gut microbiomes influence our metabolism, our likelihood of getting ill, our immune system, and even our mood.

Plants too host a huge variety of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in their roots, stems, and leaves. For the past decade, scientists have been intensively researching plant microbiomes to understand how they affect a plant's health and its vulnerability to disease.

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