Host variation for interactions with beneficial plant-associated microbes

Kevin P. Smith, Robert M. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Beneficial plant-associated microbes can profoundly influence plant health by suppressing disease, enhancing nutrient uptake, fixing atmospheric nitrogen, and promoting plant growth. Host variation, among cultivars or plant genotypes, for response to beneficial microorganisms suggests that plant genes play a role in supporting these interactions. Such host variation can be found among diverse groups of microorganisms including rhizobia, mycorrhizal fungi, and microbial biocontrol agents. Discrete variation among plant genotypes for interaction with beneficial microbes has led to the discovery of single genes that specify compatible interactions. Continuous variation for interaction phenotypes such as disease suppression, plant growth, or nutrient uptake have led to hypotheses, and in some cases genetic descriptions, of multigenic control of these interactions. Future research into the role of plant genes involved in hosting beneficial plant-associated microbes will provide greater insight into this relatively unexplored area of biology and should provide new tools to improve plant health in agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-491
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Phytopathology
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


  • AM fungi
  • Biocontrol
  • Cultivar-specific
  • Host genotype
  • Rhizobium


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