Harnessing microbial volatiles to replace pesticides and fertilizers
Global agricultural systems are under increasing pressure to deliver sufficient, healthy food for a growing population. Seasonal inputs, including synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, are applied to crops to reduce losses by pathogens, and enhance crop biomass, although their production and application can also incur several economic and environmental penalties. New solutions are therefore urgently required to enhance crop yield whilst reducing dependence on these seasonal inputs. Volatile
... nputs. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) produced by soil microorganisms may provide alternative, sustainable solutions, due to their ability to inhibit plant pathogens, induce plant resistance against pathogens and enhance plant growth promotion. This review will highlight recent advances in our understanding of the biological activities of microbial VOCs (mVOCs), providing perspectives on research required to develop them into viable alternatives to current unsustainable seasonal inputs. This can identify potential new avenues for mVOC research and stimulate discussion across the academic community and agri-business sector.