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Department of Quantitative Biomedicine

The Kümmerli group publishes their collaborative work on iron-driven phytopathogen control by natural rhizosphere microbiomes

Competition for iron drives phytopathogen control by natural rhizosphere microbiomes

Fig.1 Gu et al. 2020 Nature Microbiology
Fig.1 Gu et al. © 2020 The Authors

This work results from a collaboration between the Kümmerli group and Alex Jousset, Zhong Wei, Shaohua Gu and others.


Soil-borne pathogenic bacteria are a global threat to food production, but due to the complexity of interactions between plants, their pathogens and the plant microbiome, plant infections are difficult to control. This study combined DNA-based soil microbiome analysis with in vitro and in planta bioassays to show that competition for iron via secreted siderophore molecules is a good predictor of microbe-pathogen interactions and plant protection. The results suggest that pathogen-suppressive microbiome members produce siderophores that the pathogen cannot use, establishing a causal mechanistic link between microbiome-level competition for iron and plant protection. This link provides opportunities to use siderophore-mediated interactions as a tool for microbiome engineering and pathogen control.

See Gu et al, Nature Microbiology