Biotechnological Applications of Bacterial Endophytes
Jesus Mercado-Blanco and Ben J.J. Lugtenberg
Affiliation: Department of Crop Protection, Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (CSIC), Campus ‘Alameda del Obispo’, Avda. Menéndez Pidal, S/N, 14004 Córdoba, Spain.
This review starts with a brief introduction on bacterial endophytes. Only small fractions of rhizosphere and
phyllosphere bacteria are able to live inside the plant. Endophytes are bacteria and fungi that can be detected at a
particular moment within the tissues of apparently healthy plant hosts without producing symptoms in or on the plant.
Possible traits required by these bacteria to enter the plant and live inside will be discussed. Furthermore, we will focus on
possible biotechnological applications of bacterial endophytes and present case studies as examples. Endophytes can
promote plant growth, for example by the production of hormones or by making nutrients (such as nitrogen, phosphate
and ferric ions) available to the plant. Endophytes can also promote plant growth indirectly, for example by suppression of
plant diseases, by inactivating environmental pollutants, and by alleviating stresses of the plant caused by excess of the
hormone ethylene, by heavy metals, by draught and by salinated soil. Some endophytic bacteria can produce nanoparticles
which have numerous applications. At the end of the review we will discuss aspects involved in the commercialization of
Keywords: Biological control, commercial microbial products, disease suppression, endophyte, microbiome, nanoparticles,
plant growth-promotion, plant-microbe interaction, rhizoremediation, root hair, stress tolerance.
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