Plants represent the main component of terrestrial ecosystems, as primary producers, where they play a central role in determining ecological structure and function. Plants largely depend on the availability of soil, which not only provides a physical environment for their establishment, but also a necessary source of organic matter, mineral nutrients, and water. There are many environmental factors that influence the performance of plants; soil traits likely constitute the most complex factors, due to the diversity of possible interactions between plant roots and the living and inert part of the soil system.
In the recent decades, the classical view of plant performance being driven by soil quality, in terms of the organic content and physico-chemical characteristics of the soil, has been slowly replaced by a most integrative view, which outlines the significant role of soil organisms. This role, initially regarding the positive effect of symbionts, and the detrimental influence of pathogens and parasites, has been updated to comprise the complex interactions between plants and the antagonists of their soil-borne enemies. Soil is considered to be the main reservoir of biodiversity of the biosphere; therefore, the preservation and functioning of such biodiversity is closely associated with the conservation and management of the soil system, and to a better understanding of plant–soil interactions.
At present, in both natural and agricultural ecosystems, the study of plant–soil interactions is of interest to many research areas, ranging from plant physiology to ecology and evolution. Soil organisms can influence the quality and availability of soil nutrients, which, in turn, affects plant performance and how plants respond to environmental stress. On the other hand, plants can alter the composition of the rhizosphere of soil through the production of litter and the release of root exudates, fueling plant–soil feedback loops, with potential consequences at different ecological levels. Such interactions not only occur in natural environments, but also in agricultural environments, significantly affecting food production, and driving current and future agricultural methods and policies.
The present topic on plant–soil interactions aims to create a representative and updated collection of research articles and reviews regarding the main processes that shape the links between plants and the soil system. These studies are expected to address fundamental and applied research questions in the areas of plant and soil microbiology, biochemistry, ecology, conservation and management. In order to properly organize this variety of contents, the topic will be joined by the following journals: Diversity, Agriculture, Agronomy, Plants and Microorganisms.
The plant–soil interactions topic will cover, but is not restricted to, the following subjects:
Role of plants in soil formation;
Influence of litter quality and diversity on soil physico-chemical and microbiological properties;
Role of the diversity and activity of soil organisms on plant performance;
Above/belowground multitrophic interactions;
Plant–soil feedback in natural and agricultural environments;
Sustainable use of soil resources to produce food, commodities and energy from plants;Soil management and adaptation to climate change;Phytoremediation of polluted soils;Plant adaptations to extreme soil conditions;Soil ecotoxicology.
Prof. Dr. Fernando Monroy
Dr. Domenico Prisa
Deadline for abstract submissions: 30 September 2022.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2022.