Symbiotic relationships in plants

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Most plants will form some kind of symbiotic relationship, with fungi, bacteria, and even insects – an example of the latter being patrolling ants housed in specialist organs. Some of these relationships (as with the ants) afford plants increased protection versus herbivores, whilst others help plants tolerate stressful environments; both invaluable, given the impact of climate change on our environment, and the need to feed an increasing population. However, symbionts can also provide significant nutritional benefits, most notably, nitrogen-fixing bacteria housed in the root nodules of specific plants. Understanding what underlies this compatibility could reduce the need for nitrogen fertilisers.

This Collection invites original research on plants and their symbionts, from the mechanisms of these association, to how these relationships may contribute towards sustainable agriculture.

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Raffaella Balestrini is Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection, CNR, Italy. Her research focuses on the mechanisms at the basis of plant-soil microorganism interactions, with particular attention to mycorrhizal symbioses. Dr Balestrini has been an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports since 2019.




Nijat Imin is currently an Associate Professor at the Western Sydney University. He leads a team to investigate how plants coordinate growth, development and responses to the environment. In particular, his team studies how plant signalling peptides regulate nutrient update, growth and yield. Dr Imin has been an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports since 2013.




Sudisha Jogaiah is currently an Assistant Professor of the Department of studies in Biotechnology and Microbiology, Karnatak University, India. His research offers a fresh perspective to agriculture, horticulture, and agro-ecosystems from “Laboratory to Land” and is designed to educate and train the farmers for implementation of sustainable crop production. Dr Jogaiah has been an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports since 2016.