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In Frontiers in plant science

Plants teem with microorganisms, whose tremendous diversity and role in plant-microbe interactions are being increasingly explored. Microbial communities create a functional bond with their hosts and express beneficial traits capable of enhancing plant performance. Therefore, a significant task of microbiome research has been identifying novel beneficial microbial traits that can contribute to crop productivity, particularly under adverse environmental conditions. However, although knowledge has exponentially accumulated in recent years, few novel methods regarding the process of designing inoculants for agriculture have been presented. A recently introduced approach is the use of synthetic microbial communities (SynComs), which involves applying concepts from both microbial ecology and genetics to design inoculants. Here, we discuss how to translate this rationale for delivering stable and effective inoculants for agriculture by tailoring SynComs with microorganisms possessing traits for robust colonization, prevalence throughout plant development and specific beneficial functions for plants. Computational methods, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, will leverage the approaches of screening and identifying beneficial microbes while improving the process of determining the best combination of microbes for a desired plant phenotype. We focus on recent advances that deepen our knowledge of plant-microbe interactions and critically discuss the prospect of using microbes to create SynComs capable of enhancing crop resiliency against stressful conditions.

de Souza Rafael Soares Correa, Armanhi Jaderson Silveira Leite, Arruda Paulo


inoculants, metagenomics, plant growth-promoting (PGP), plant microbiome, synthetic microbial community (SynCom)