Soil, plants, animals, and human microbiota, what do they have to teach us?


Soil, plants, animals, and humans share microorganisms as different as viruses, bacteria, archaea, fungi, and protists, at a high taxonomic and functional levels. All these taxa and functions form specific communities called microbiota that play a crucial role contributing to health of humans and ecosystems. Over the past decades, numerous studies have shown that increasing our understanding of each community is of great scientific and public interest.

The present issue of Global Fruit and Veg Newsletter shares three outstanding scientific papers that provide an overview of the state of knowledge on this subject.

The first article coins the new concept of eco-holobiont, to show how the holistic approach of living beings, that emerged some decades ago, needs to take into account abiotic and abiotic interactions to better understand what drives and shapes each microbiota.

The second article highlights the crucial role of soil, known as the largest reservoir of microbial diversity. It provides new evidence showing how soil microbiota contributes to plants, animals, and humans health in a “One Health” approach.

The third article, in which the author of the first paper is involved, focuses more specifically on plant microbiota. The paper explores how composition, assembly and dynamics of host-microbiota association modulate its beneficial traits.

Together, these three complementary approaches show that soil, plants, animals, and human microbiota are interconnected, forming a kind of microbial loop on which the health of the whole ecosystem depends.

Laurent Palka Associate professor at the National Museum of Natural History – Paris, France
About the author

Laurent Palka is associate professor and specialist in microbial ecology. LP leads a research project in urban area at the Cesco research unit (Centre d’Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation) on the role of microorganisms in the adaptation of plants on green roofs in Paris. Another of his current research projects is to make a taxonomic survey of microorganism in soil of France under the auspice of the French Office of Biodiversity and INRAE. LP is the editor of the book “Microbiodiversité un nouveau regard” released in 2018 and published the book “Le peuple microbien” in 2020.

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