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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rhizobacteria mediate the phytotoxicity of a range of biorefinery-relevant compounds.

  • Author(s): Herbert, Robin A
  • Eng, Thomas
  • Martinez, Uriel
  • Wang, Brenda
  • Langley, Sasha
  • Wan, Kenneth
  • Pidatala, Venkataramana
  • Hoffman, Elijah
  • Chen, Joseph C
  • Bissell, Mina J
  • Brown, James B
  • Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila
  • Mortimer, Jenny C
  • et al.

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Advances in engineering biology have expanded the list of renewable compounds that can be produced at scale via biological routes from plant biomass. In most cases, these chemical products have not been evaluated for effects on biological systems, defined here as bioactivity, that may be relevant to their manufacture. For sustainable chemical and fuel production, the industry needs to transition from fossil to renewable carbon sources, resulting in unprecedented expansion in the production and environmental distribution of chemicals used in biomanufacturing. Further, while some chemicals have been assessed for mammalian toxicity, environmental and agricultural hazards are largely unknown. We assessed six compounds that are representative of the emerging biofuel and bioproduct manufacturing process for their effect on model plants (Arabidopsis thaliana, Sorghum bicolor) and show that several alter plant seedling physiology at sub-millimolar concentrations. However, these responses change in the presence of individual bacterial species from the A. thaliana root microbiome. We identified two individual microbes that change the effect of chemical treatment on root architecture, and a pooled microbial community with different effects relative to its constituents individually. Our findings indicate that screening industrial chemicals for bioactivity on model organisms in the presence of their microbiomes is important for biologically and ecologically relevant risk analyses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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