Multifaceted Plant-Associated Microbes and Their Mechanisms Diminish the Concept of Direct and Indirect PGPRs



It is an old saying that when we take from nature, we have to give back also; this give-and-take phenomenon leads to sustainability and is important for growth of a relationship. This is also applicable in plant–microbial world. The association of microbes with plants can be exploited and used to gain the benefits not only for the associated organisms but also for the ecosystem as a whole. When we view it in a holistic way, it is clear that multifaceted and diverse mechanisms of plant-associated microbes (PAMs) participate in promoting plant growth; protecting plant health; strengthening plant–microbe association under stress-, pollutant-, or contaminant-affected conditions; and protecting plants from the attack of phytopathogens through biological control. The multiple functions performed by microbes in the vicinity of plants (rhizosphere, phyllosphere, or other regions) are extremely interwoven and interlinked and are inseparable from each other. At present, the plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and mechanisms by which they function or help their respective host plant have been broadly classified into direct or indirect. However, the scenario is not as simple, plain, or should we say two-dimensional. Several PGPRs and the metabolites they produce can function in multiple ways in same or diverse conditions diminishing the concept of direct and indirect. Several examples discussed in this chapter dilute the boundary between direct and indirect and raise questions for the researchers to gather more knowledge on the intricately woven relationship and functions of the metabolites and mechanisms as a whole. A microbial metabolite in the rhizosphere cannot only perform a big role which is quite apparent but also several other functions which are less visible or obvious but are equally important. Several examples cited in the literature prove that the so-called direct mechanisms (like nutrient acquisition, phytohormone production, iron chelation, phosphate solubilization, and nitrogen fixation) also help the plant in other (indirect) ways and similarly the so-called indirect mechanisms (like antimicrobial metabolites for biocontrol and induced systemic resistance (ISR)) perform several different (direct) functions. Diverse mechanisms function simultaneously in the soil and do not work individually, strengthening the concept of universal and holistic approach.


Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Mycorrhizal Fungus Root Colonization Plant Growth Promotion Phosphate Solubilization 



The authors are grateful to Vice Chancellor Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, India, for their support.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naveen Kumar Arora
    • 1
  • Sakshi Tewari
    • 1
  • Rachna Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Microbiology, School of Environmental ScienceBBA UniversityLucknowIndia

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