A growing body of evidence demonstrates the potential of various microbes to enhance plant productivity in cropping systems although their successful field application may be impaired by several biotic and abiotic constraints. In the present work, we aimed at developing multifunctional synthetic microbial consortia to be used in combination with suitable bioactive compounds for improving crop yield and quality. Plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) with different functional attributes were identified by a bottom-up approach. A comprehensive literature survey on PGPMs associated with maize, wheat, potato and tomato, and on commercial formulations, was conducted by examining peer-reviewed scientific publications and results from relevant European projects. Metagenome fragment recruitments on genomes of potential PGPMs represented in databases were also performed to help identify plant growth-promoting (PGP) strains. Following evidence of their ability to coexist, isolated PGPMs were synthetically assembled into three different microbial consortia. Additionally, the effects of bioactive compounds on the growth of individually PGPMs were tested in starvation conditions. The different combination products based on microbial and non-microbial biostimulants (BS) appear worth considering for greenhouse and open field trials to select those potentially adoptable in sustainable agriculture.
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