Beneficial effects of plant-associated microbes on indoor microbiomes and human health?
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Just like humans, plants have recently been recognized as meta-organisms, possessing a distinct microbiome and revealing close symbiotic relationships with their associated microorganisms (Berg et al., 2013; Mendes et al., 2013). Each plant harbor specific species to a certain degree but also cosmopolitan and ubiquitous microbial strains; the majority of them fulfill important host as well as ecosystem functions (rev. in Berg and Smalla, 2009). In addition to the microbe-rich rhizosphere, which has been studied extensively, the phyllosphere is of special interest for the study of indoor microbiomes due to its large and exposed surface area and its remarkable microbial diversity (Lindow and Leveau, 2002; Lindow and Brandl, 2003; Redford et al., 2010; Meyer and Leveau, 2012; Vorholt, 2012; Rastogi et al., 2013). In addition to the majority of beneficial and neutral inhabitants, all plant-associated microbiomes contain plant as well as human pathogens (Berg et al., 2005; Mendes et al., 2013). A broad spectrum of plant pathogens is well-known from disease outbreaks. Human pathogens belong mainly to the so called opportunistic or facultative human pathogens such as Burkholderia cepacia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, which cause diseases only in patients with predisposition or in hospital (Berg et al., 2005; Ryan et al., 2009).
Gabriele Berg, Alexander Manhert, Christiner Moissl-Eichinger