New Plant Breeding: Utilizing SynCom (Formula of Core Species in Rhizospheric Microbiota)

A turning point is approaching for classical breeding methods. One of the major trends is a breeding method using genome editing, which can change only a specific target DNA sequence. As a result, the time required for breeding can be significantly shortened compared to conventional methods. But a bigger wave is also approaching. It is the idea of ​​actively using rhizospheric microorganisms to improve plant traits. The great advantage of this method is that the plants retain their original genotype and do not require specific safety assessments compared to transgenic or genome-edited products.

I have already written a number of  blogs about the symbiotic relationship between rhizobacteria and plants (in other words, it means there are many papers published), and I would not like to emphasize its importance again here. However, I would like to emphasize in this blog that the term SynCom is beginning to be used as a methodology. Through the analysis of accumulated data on the overall composition of rhizosphere microbiota, SynCom is a formula of “a few selected core species” that are most likely to significantly influence the structure of the rhizosphere microbiota.

The efficacy of SynCom applications in real agriculture has been evaluated, but often appears to be inconsistent. The main reason for this failure is because the plant-associated rhizosphere microbes can not exert their beneficial effects as expected. To solve this problem, we must consider the host plant genotype and root secretion from it, the compatibility of the bacterial species with the environment, and the spatial competition with native soil bacteria. SynCom’s ecological interaction with naturally occurring bacterial community is likely to be one of the most important aspects that must be considered seriously when applying SynComs in a real environment. Furthermore, in order to establish SynCom in the rhizosphere and expand its territory, it may be possible to apply biostimulants designed for the SynCom.

Microbiome sensors (MBS) and biostimulants should become more and more hot topics in the near future.