Endophytes in Biotechnology and Agriculture
Plants are associated with micro- and nanoorganisms: Endophytic bacteria and fungi, which live inter- and intracellularly in plants without inducing pathogenic symptoms, interact with the host biochemically and genetically. Endophytic microorganisms (EMOs) may function as plant growth and defense promoters by synthesising phytohormones, producing biosurfactants, enzymes or precursors for secondary plant metabolites, fixing atmospheric nitrogen and CO2 or control plant diseases as well as providing a source for new bioactive natural products with utility in pharmaceutical, agrochemical and other LifeScience applications.
The use of these EMOs to control plant-pathogenic bacteria and fungi is receiving increasing attention as a sustainable alternative to synthetic pesticides and antibiotics. Furthermore, these EMOs are likely to be adapted to the presence and metabolism of complex organic molecules and therefore show useful biodegradation activities. In order to reduce the input of pesticides and fertilizers and to bring European added value to an eco-friendly agriculture, it will be important to develop inocula of biofertilizers, stress protection and biocontrol agents.