A range of micro-organisms interact positively with crop plants and play a major role in crop production. For example, soil and rhizosphere micro-organisms can mediate the generation of inorganic nutrient ions such as nitrate, ammonium and phosphate from organic and/or inorganic material. Also, some soil micro-organisms can fix significant amounts of atmospheric nitrogen which becomes available to plants while others produce plant growth substances which enhance crop growth. The population of micro-organisms in the rhizosphere can be manipulated by inoculation of seed with specific micro-organisms. This procedure can lead to increases production of cereals such as wheat and rice.
This volume provides a record of papers dealing with the theme of plant microbial interactions in relation to crop production and utilisation, which were presented at a meeting of the Association of Applied Biologists at the University of Sunderland, 2-3 July 2001.