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Potential applications of plant probiotic microorganisms in agriculture and forestry

1 Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology Department, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba-PR, Brazil
2 Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (INVEMAR), Santa Marta, Colombia

Special Issue: Plant probiotic bacteria: solutions to feed the World

Agriculture producers, pushed by the need for high productivity, have stimulated the intensive use of pesticides and fertilizers. Unfortunately, negative effects on water, soil, and human and animal health have appeared as a consequence of this indiscriminate practice. Plant probiotic microorganisms (PPM), also known as bioprotectants, biocontrollers, biofertilizers, or biostimulants, are beneficial microorganisms that offer a promising alternative and reduce health and environmental problems. These microorganisms are involved in either a symbiotic or free-living association with plants and act in different ways, sometimes with specific functions, to achieve satisfactory plant development. This review deals with PPM presentation and their description and function in different applications. PPM includes the plant growth promoters (PGP) group, which contain bacteria and fungi that stimulate plant growth through different mechanisms. Soil microflora mediate many biogeochemical processes. The use of plant probiotics as an alternative soil fertilization source has been the focus of several studies; their use in agriculture improves nutrient supply and conserves field management and causes no adverse effects. The species related to organic matter and pollutant biodegradation in soil and abiotic stress tolerance are then presented. As an important way to understand not only the ecological role of PPM and their interaction with plants but also the biotechnological application of these cultures to crop management, two main approaches are elucidated: the culture-dependent approach where the microorganisms contained in the plant material are isolated by culturing and are identified by a combination of phenotypic and molecular methods; and the culture-independent approach where microorganisms are detected without cultivating them, based on extraction and analyses of DNA. These methods combine to give a thorough knowledge of the microbiology of the studied environment.
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