ESE Cover—Revisiting the plant microbiome under the scenario of agrochemicals interference


ESE CoverRevisiting the plant microbiome under the scenario of agrochemicals interference

Agrochemicals safeguard high crop yields globally, yet the changes they induce in terrestrial, aquatic, and especially in host-associated microbial communities remain largely overlooked. Recent studies have shown that various agrochemicals can substantially affect microbial communities; especially those that are associated with cultivated plants. Under certain circumstances, up to 50% of the naturally occurring microorganisms can be negatively affected by common agricultural practices such as seed coating with fungicide-based matrices. Nevertheless, the off-target effects of commonly applied agrochemicals are still understudied in terms of their interferences with microbial communities. At the same time, agrochemical inputs are steadily increasing due to the intensification of agriculture and the increasing pathogen pressure that is currently observed worldwide.

Recently, the current understanding on agrochemical interference with microbial communities and especially their negative implications for the plant holobiont were reviewed by Mengcen Wang (Zhejiang University) and Tomislav Cernava (Graz University of Technology), and published as a cover story entitled “Overhauling the assessment of agrochemical-driven interferences with microbial communities for improved global ecosystem integrity” in Environmental Science & Technology.

Cumulative effects of pesticide inputs that cause alterations in microbial functioning likely have unforeseen implications on geochemical cycles that should be addressed with a high priority in ongoing research. A holistic assessment of such implications will allow us to objectively select the most suitable means for food production under the scenario of a growing global population and aggravating climatic conditions. From the One Health perspective, three strategies that may facilitate more sustainable agricultural practices in the future, improved global ecosystem integrity and interconnected health aspects are presented.

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