Plant growth promoting microorganisms (PGPM) and biological control agents (BCA) are shown to possess secondary beneficial effects that would increase their usefulness as bio-inoculants, regardless of the need for their primary function. Indeed, PGPM, such as Rhizobium and Glomus spp., can promote plant growth and productivity (primary effect) but have now been shown to also play a role in reducing disease (secondary effect). Conversely, BCA, such as Trichoderma and Pseudomonas spp., can control disease (primary effect) but have recently demonstrated stimulation of plant growth (secondary effect) in the absence of a pathogen. Further work shedding light onto the precise mode of action and ecophysiology of these microorganisms would assist with their timely and appropriate use and potentially unleash their full promise as beneficial rhizosphere bio-inoculants for improved growth and health of plants. The potential increased use of these microorganisms afforded by their multifaceted beneficial effects may further help in reducing problems associated with the use of synthetic chemicals in agriculture.

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Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Department of Chemistry

Avis, T, Gravel, V. (Valérie), Antoun, H. (Hani), & Tweddell, R.J. (Russell J.). (2008). Multifaceted beneficial effects of rhizosphere microorganisms on plant health and productivity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 40(7), 1733–1740. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.02.013