A look into a multifunctional toolbox: endophytic Bacillus species provide broad and underexploited benefits for plants

World J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Jun 13;34(7):94. doi: 10.1007/s11274-018-2479-7.


One of the major challenges of agriculture currently is to obtain higher crop yield. Environmental conditions, cultivar quality, and plant diseases greatly affect plant productivity. On the other hand, several endophytic Bacillus species have emerged as a complementary, efficient, and safe alternative to current crop management practices. The ability of Bacillus species to form spores, which resist adverse conditions, is an advantage of the genus for use in formulations. Endophytic Bacillus species provide plants with a wide range of benefits, including protection against phytopathogenic microorganisms, insects, and nematodes, eliciting resistance, and promoting plant growth, without causing damage to the environment. Bacillus thuringiensis, B. subtilis, B. amyloliquefaciens, B. velezensis, B. cereus, B. pumilus, and B. licheniformis are the most studied Bacillus species for application in agriculture, although other species within the genus have also shown great potential. Due to the increasing number of whole-genome sequenced endophytic Bacillus spp. strains, various bioactive compounds have been predicted. These data reveal endophytic Bacillus species as an underexploited source of novel molecules of biotechnological interest. In this review, we discuss how endophytic Bacillus species are a valuable multifunctional toolbox to be integrated with crop management practices for achieving higher crop yield.

Keywords: Agricultural biotechnology; Bacillus; Crop management; Crop yield; Endophytic; Genome-mining.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / metabolism
  • Bacillus / classification
  • Bacillus / genetics
  • Bacillus / physiology*
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Biological Control Agents
  • Biotechnology
  • Crop Production
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Endophytes / genetics
  • Endophytes / physiology*
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Plant Development
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology
  • Plant Diseases / prevention & control
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • Quorum Sensing
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Biological Control Agents
  • Plant Growth Regulators