Causes and consequences of plant-associated biofilms
The rhizosphere is the critical interface between plant roots and soil where beneficial and harmful interactions between plants and microorganisms occur. Although microorganisms have historically been studied as planktonic (or free-swimming) cells, most are found attached to surfaces, in multicellular assemblies known as biofilms. When found in association with plants, certain bacteria such as plant growth promoting rhizobacteria not only induce plant growth but also protect plants from soil-borne pathogens in a process known as biocontrol. Contrastingly, other rhizobacteria in a biofilm matrix may cause pathogenesis in plants. Although research suggests that biofilm formation on plants is associated with biological control and pathogenic response, little is known about how plants regulate this association. Here, we assess the biological importance of biofilm association on plants.