Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2014, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (3): 298-310.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2014.00027

• Review • Previous Articles    

Advances and perspective in research on plant-soil-microbe interactions mediated by root exudates

WU Lin-Kun1,2*, LIN Xiang-Min1,2*, and LIN Wen-Xiong1,2**   

  1. 1College of Life Sciences, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China;

    2Key Laboratory of Biopesticide and Chemical Biology, Ministry of Education, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
  • Received:2013-10-09 Revised:2014-01-22 Online:2014-02-27 Published:2014-03-01
  • Contact: LIN Wen-Xiong


Root exudates have specialized roles in nutrient cycling and signal transduction between a root system and soil, as well as in plant response to environmental stresses. They are the key regulators in rhizosphere communication, and can modify the biological and physical interactions between roots and soil organisms. Root exudates play important roles in biogeochemical cycle, regulation of rhizospheric ecological processes, and plant growth and development, and so on. Root exudates also serve roles in the plant-plant, plant-microbe, and microbe-microbe interactions. Plant allelopathy, intercropping system, bioremediation, and biological invasion are all the focal subjects in the field of contemporary agricultural ecology. They all involve the complex biological processes in rhizosphere. There are increasing evidences that various positive and negative plant-plant interactions within or among plant populations, such as allelopathy, consecutive monoculture problem, and interspecific facilitation in intercropping system, are all the results of the integrative effect of plant-microbe interactions mediated by root exudates. Recently, with the development of biotechnology, the methods and technologies relating to soil ecological research have achieved a remarkable progress. In particular, the breakthroughs of meta-omics technologies, including environmental metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics, and metabonomics, have largely enriched our knowledge of the soil biological world and the biodiversity and function diversity belowground. Research on plant-soil-microbe interactions mediated by root exudates has important implications for elucidating the functions of rhizosphere microecology and for providing practical guidelines. The concept and components of root exudates as well as the functions are reviewed in this paper. An overview on the root-bacteria, root-fungi, and root-fauna interactions is presented in detail. Methods to study root exudates and microbial communities are reviewed and the aspects needed to be further studied are also suggested.

Key words: ecological effect, microecology, rhizosphere, root exudate, signal molecule

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