Plant-microbe interactions and the new biotechnological methods of plant disease control

Plants constitute an excellent ecosystem for microorganisms. The environmental conditions offered differ considerably between the highly variable aerial plant part and the more stable root system. Microbes interact with plant tissues and cells with different degrees of dependence. The most interesting from the microbial ecology point of view, however, are specific interactions developed by plant-beneficial (either non-symbiotic or symbiotic) and pathogenic microorganisms. Plants, like humans and other animals, also become sick, but they have evolved a sophisticated defense response against microbes, based on a combination of constitutive and inducible responses which can be localized or spread throughout plant organs and tissues. The response is mediated by several messenger molecules that activate pathogen-responsive genes coding for enzymes or antimicrobial compounds, and produces less sophisticated and specific compounds than immunoglobulins in animals. However, the response specifically detects intracellularly a type of protein of the pathogen based on a gene-for-gene interaction recognition system, triggering a biochemical attack and programmed cell death. Several implications for the management of plant diseases are derived from knowledge of the basis of the specificity of plant-bacteria interactions. New biotechnological products are currently being developed based on stimulation of the plant defense response, and on the use of plant-beneficial bacteria for biological control of plant diseases (biopesticides) and for plant growth promotion (biofertilizers) ​
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