Molecular aspects of plant growth promotion and protection by Bacillus subtilis

Christopher Blake, Mathilde Nordgaard Christensen, Ákos T. Kovács*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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Bacillus subtilis is one of the most widely studied plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria. It is able to both promote plant growth as well as control plant pathogens through diverse mechanisms, including the improvement of nutrient availability and alteration of phytohormone homeostasis as well as the production of antimicrobials and triggering induced systemic resistance, respectively. Even though its benefits for crop production have been recognized and studied extensively under laboratory conditions, the success of its application in fields varies immensely. It is widely accepted that agricultural application of B. subtilis often fails because the bacteria are not able to persist in the rhizosphere. With this in mind, bacterial colonization of plant roots is a crucial step in the interaction between microbe and plant and seems therefore to be of great importance for its growth promotion and biocontrol effects. A successful root colonization depends thereby on both bacterial traits, including motility and biofilm formation, as well as on a signal interplay with the plant. This review addresses the current knowledge about plant-microbial interactions of the B. subtilis species, including the various mechanisms for supporting plant growth as well as the necessities for the establishment of the relationship.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Plant - Microbe Interactions
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

The author(s) have dedicated the work to the public domain under the Creative Commons CC0 “No Rights Reserved” license by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Biocontrol
  • Biofilm
  • Motility
  • Plant growth promotion


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