No matter where a plant is growing, whether it is in Africa, Europe, Asia or America, it is always the same composition of microbes that support its growth. An apparently steady ensemble of bacteria and fungi repel pathogens, shield off stress and exploit the uptake and excretion of nutrients.
If it is possible to qualify these microbial helpers for a specific kind of plants or type of soils in order to systematically strengthen these plants and soils, this might permanently ensure more nutritious crop yields for the future. Hence, fertilizers would be used to a lesser extent and the negative impact of droughts could be at least compensated to some degree. However, so far only a fraction of these microbes are known, some of them were ignored for a longer time period or they have been classified as harmful. Nevertheless, worldwide experts agree that future breeding and cultivation of plants should actively involve their surrounding micro communities.
Among the world’s most extensive research projects in this promising field counts the Earth Microbiome Project, which already analyzed 30,000 soil samples from all regions of the world.
Read and see more:
Jack A. Gilbert, Janet K. Jansson, and Rob Knight. “The Earth Microbiome project: successes and aspirations.” BMC biology 12.1 (2014): 69. and http://www.earthmicrobiome.org/ and www.microbio.me/emp