bacteria on wheat roots in dryland and irrigated conditions

Foreground: microbial community under dry conditions (left) and microbial community under irrigated conditions (right)

Microbes deep in the soil influence plant health by releasing potent natural antibiotics such as PCA (phenazine-1-carboxylic acid). PCA-producing bacteria thrive on roots of dryland wheat throughout the Columbia Plateau, a major wheat-producing region in central Washington and Oregon, but their role in this important ecosystem was something of a mystery. Now the work of an international team of scientists provides direct evidence for the first time that these bacteria affect not only the wheat, but the soil around it.

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Phenazine-1-carboxylic acid and soil moisture influence biofilm development and turnover of rhizobacterial biomass on wheat root surfaces.

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