Visualizing the Hidden Half: Plant-Microbe Interactions in the Rhizosphere

mSystems. 2021 Oct 26;6(5):e0076521. doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00765-21. Epub 2021 Sep 14.


Plant roots and the associated rhizosphere constitute a dynamic environment that fosters numerous intra- and interkingdom interactions, including metabolite exchange between plants and soil mediated by root exudates and the rhizosphere microbiome. These interactions affect plant fitness and performance, soil health, and the belowground carbon budget. Exploring and understanding the molecular mechanisms governing ecosystem responses via rhizosphere interactions allow the rational and sustainable design of future ecosystems. However, visualizing the plant root system architecture with spatially resolved root exudate and microbiome profiles along the root in its native state remains an ambitious grand challenge in rhizosphere biology. To address this challenge, we developed a three-dimensional (3D) root cartography platform to accurately visualize molecular and microbial constituents and their interactions in the root-rhizosphere zone.

Keywords: 3D visualization of roots; metabolomics; plant-microbe interactions; rhizosphere hot spots; root exudates.