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The sources of diazotrophs in cereals may be seeds, soils, and even irrigation water and diazotrophs have been found on roots or as endophytes.
Inoculant formulations and survival of inoculated bacteria are not within the scope of this review. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-294X.1999.00640.x Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Guo, B., Wang, Y., Sun, X., and Tang, K. Bioactive natural products from endophytes: a review.
Removing plant products from agricultural fields leads to nitrogen and other nutrient deficiencies.
This hypothesis predicts that in communities of free-living microorganisms, there are only a few “helpers” that have costly functions, such as nitrogen fixation, that support the “beneficiaries” that are dependent on them for nitrogen supplies (Morris et al., 2012). doi: 10.1016/s0168-1656(01)00332-7 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Gutjahr, C., Banba, M., Croset, V., An, K., Miyao, A., An, G., et al. Arbuscular mycorrhiza–specific signaling in rice transcends the common symbiosis signaling pathway. doi: 10.1105/tpc.108.062414 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Haichar, F.
Consequently, diazotrophs generally correspond to minor components of the ecosystems.
Cereals are grasses from the Poaceae family that were domesticated several thousand years ago in different geographical regions in order to take advantage of the edible components of their grain. doi: 10.1094/MPMI.2002.15.3.233 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Isobe, K., and Ohte, N. Ecological perspectives on microbes involved in N-cycling.
Maize, rice, wheat, and sorghum are the most widely grown cereals consumed by humans and this review will focus on these crops.
Therefore, achieving nitrogen fixation in cereals, like that which occurs in legumes, has been a long-cherished goal and has been considered as a holy “grail” (Triplett, 1996). doi: 10.1094/MPMI.2000.13.5.572 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Govindarajan, M., Balandreau, J., Muthukumarasamy, R., Revathi, G., and Lakshminarasimhan, C. Improved yield of micropropagated sugarcane following inoculation by endophytic Burkholderia vietnamiensis. doi: 10.1007/s11104-005-3223-2 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Guntli, D., Heeb, M., Moënne-Loccoz, Y., and Défago, G. Contribution of calystegine catabolic plasmid to competitive colonization of the rhizosphere of calystegine-producing plants by Sinorhizobium meliloti Rm41.
A huge interest in rice nitrogen fixation is reflected in books devoted to this subject (Khush and Bennett, 1992; Ladha and Reddy, 2000).
Additionally, regular inoculation with diazotrophs as is common for legumes, could provide enough bacterial cells for the plant even if bacteria do not persist long in soils.
Besides, low soil persistence may not be a disadvantage because it would allow subsequent introductions of more efficient symbionts as inoculants.