Manipulating Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes: Challenges and Opportunities


This white paper presents a series of perspectives on current and future phytobiome management, discussed at the Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes Symposium in University Park, PA, U.S.A., in June 2018. To enhance plant productivity and health, and to translate lab- and greenhouse-based phytobiome research to field applications, the academic community and end-users need to address a variety of scientific, practical, and social challenges. Prior discussion of phytobiomes has focused heavily on plant-associated bacterial and fungal assemblages, but the phytobiomes concept covers all factors that influence plant function. Here we discuss various management considerations, including abiotic conditions (e.g., soil and nutrient applications), microorganisms (e.g., bacterial and fungal assemblages, bacterial and fungal inoculants, and viruses), macroorganisms (e.g., arthropods and plant genetics), and societal factors (e.g., communication approaches and technology diffusion). An important near-term goal for this field should be to estimate the potential relative contribution of different components of the phytobiome to plant health, as well as the potential and risk of modifying each in the near future.

Phytobiomes Journal