News Release 

A combination of two bacteria genera improves plants' health

Researchers of the University of Malaga (UMA) evidence the protective role of the microorganisms 'Bacillus subtilis' and 'Pseudomonas' when they coexist in the same space

University of Malaga

For the first time researchers of BacBio Laboratory of the University of Malaga have evidenced that the combination of 'Bacillus subtilis' and 'Pseudomonas' bacteria can improve plants' health.

A find that was published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communication, since it evidences the protective role of these bacteria when they coexist in the same space.

"It was already known that some bacteria, separately, contributed to the improvement of some plants, for example, to their growth. In this study we have taken a step forward by proving that bacteria, if mixed, can confer even greater benefits", says Professor Diego Romero of the Department of Microbiology, main researcher of BacBio.

In this regard, the expert explains that scientists have always believed these bacteria exclude themselves, so not only does this study evidence that they can live in harmony, but also proves that using them in combination promotes their positive effects on plants.

"The applications are endless. Apart from promoting a sustainable agriculture by reducing fertilizers, these results may have an impact on any research field, such as antibiotic resistance", stresses Romero.

The researcher Carlos Molina-Santiago is the main author of this article, who worked with about ten members of the Laboratory, also in collaboration with research groups of the University of Bordeaux, the University of San Diego (USA), and Dr. John R. Pearson of Bionand. The study has been supported by EU funding through the ERC-Starting Grant, which promotes top-quality research projects.

BacBio Laboratory, located in the Bioinnovation building of the UMA, has been studying bacteria physiology and their interaction with the environment since 2013. Plants are another priority line of research, particularly, the Cucurbitaceae, a plant family which comprises melon and cucumber.

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Reference:

Nat Commun. 2019 Apr 23;10(1):1919. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09944-x.

The extracellular matrix protects Bacillus subtilis colonies from Pseudomonas invasion and modulates plant co-colonization.

Molina-Santiago C, Pearson JR, Navarro Y, Berlanga-Clavero MV, Caraballo-Rodriguez AM, Petras D, García-Martín ML, Lamon G, Haberstein B, Cazorla FM, de Vicente A, Loquet A, Dorrestein PC, Romero D.

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