Recent decades have predicted significant changes within our concept of plant endophytes, from only a small number specific microorganisms being able to colonize plant tissues, to whole communities that live and interact with their hosts and each other. Many of these microorganisms are responsible for health status of the plant, and have become known in recent years as plant probiotics. Contrary to human probiotics, they belong to many different phyla and have usually had each genus analysed independently, which has resulted in lack of a complete taxonomic analysis as a group. This review scrutinizes the plant probiotic concept, and the taxonomic status of plant probiotic bacteria, based on both traditional and more recent approaches. Phylogenomic studies and genes with implications in plant-beneficial effects are discussed. This report covers some representative probiotic bacteria of the phylum Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, but also includes minor representatives and less studied groups within these phyla which have been identified as plant probiotics.
Keywords: ACC; IAA; PGPR; genome; metagenomics; phylogeny; plant; probiotic.