Unlocking Pomegranate Soil Secrets: Boosting Organic Farming and Plant Health

Jenn Hoskins
29th May, 2024

Unlocking Pomegranate Soil Secrets: Boosting Organic Farming and Plant Health

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at REVA University studied the microbial diversity in the rhizosphere of the pomegranate "Bhagwa" variety
  • They found that microbial diversity was similar between bulk and rhizosphere soil samples
  • Several previously unreported microorganisms, like Streptomyces indicus, were identified with potential plant growth promotion and biocontrol properties
  • These microorganisms showed significant potential in promoting plant growth and combating pathogens like Xanthomonas, which causes pomegranate wilt disease
Food production faces significant challenges in meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs). One promising approach is organic farming, which can be enhanced by soil microorganisms with plant growth promotion (PGP) and biocontrol properties. This study, conducted by researchers at REVA University, investigated microbial diversity in the rhizosphere of the pomegranate "Bhagwa" variety and its potential role in PGP and biocontrol[1]. The study focused on analyzing both bulk and rhizosphere soil samples for their physicochemical properties. Surprisingly, the microbial diversity was found to be comparable between the two types of soil. Using whole metagenome sequencing via the Illumina NovaSeq6000 platform, the researchers identified several microorganisms previously unreported in agricultural literature, such as Streptomyces indicus, Bradyrhizobium kalamazoonesis, and Pseudomonas cellulosum. Pathway prediction analysis using KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia for Genes and Genomes) and COG (clusters of orthologous genes) databases revealed metabolic pathways linked to biocontrol properties against pathogens. The metagenome data were confirmed in vitro, showing that these bacteria have significant PGP potential and antimicrobial properties. For instance, S. indicus was found to produce high concentrations of indole-3-acetic acid, a phytohormone that promotes plant growth. Additionally, antimicrobial susceptibility assays demonstrated that bacterial extracts exhibited activity against Xanthomonas, a primary pathogen responsible for pomegranate wilt disease. This study builds on earlier research that highlighted the importance of soil microorganisms in managing crop diseases. For example, previous studies have shown that pomegranate crops are prone to wilt complex disease, which severely affects yield. Metagenomics sequencing has been utilized to identify beneficial and pathogenic bacterial communities in such contexts[2]. Another study emphasized the importance of early diagnosis of bacterial blight caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae, demonstrating that DNA-based diagnostic methods like qPCR are highly effective[3]. The findings from REVA University suggest that S. indicus, B. kalamazoonesis, and P. cellulosum could serve as effective PGP and biocontrol agents, potentially increasing crop productivity in pomegranate cultivation. These agents and their combinations warrant further research, particularly in the context of achieving SDGs and advancing organic farming practices.

FruitsAgriculturePlant Science


Main Study

1) Pomegranate Rhizosphere Microbial Diversity Revealed by Metagenomics: Toward Organic Farming, Plant Growth Promotion and Biocontrol?

Published 28th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Improved species level bacterial characterization from rhizosphere soil of wilt infected Punica granatum.


3) Reliable and early diagnosis of bacterial blight in pomegranate caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae using sensitive PCR techniques.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙