Extension of Plant Phenotypes by the Foliar Microbiome
ANNUAL REVIEW OF PLANT BIOLOGY, VOL 72, 2021, Vol. 72, pp. 823–846.
The foliar microbiome can extend the host plant phenotype by expanding its genomic and metabolic capabilities. Despite increasing recognition of the importance of the foliar microbiome for plant fitness, stress physiology, and yield, the diversity, function, and contribution of foliar microbiomes to plant phenotypic traits remain largely elusive. The recent adoption of high-throughput technologies is helping to unravel the diversityand spatiotemporal dynamics of foliar microbiomes, but we have yet to resolve their functional importance for plant growth, development, and ecology. Here, we focus on the processes that govern the assembly of the foliar microbiome and the potential mechanisms involved in extended plant phenotypes. We highlight knowledge gaps and provide suggestions for new research directions that can propel the field forward. These efforts will be instrumental in maximizing the functional potential of the foliar microbiome for sustainable crop production.