Integrating seed microbiome knowledge into restoration and ex situ conservation of native Australian plants

Publication Name

Australian Journal of Botany


Context: Seeds harbour a diversity of microbes, which in some plants aid with germination and establishment. Seeds form a critical part in the lifecycle of plants and a role in many conservation and restoration activities. Aims: Because this is an emerging field in seed biology, we aim to highlight the key research gaps of interest to seed on the basis of restoration and ex situ conservation. Methods: We identify knowledge gaps associated with the seed endophytic microbiome of native Australian plants through undertaking a literature review. Additionally, culturing methods were used to identify the fungal seed endophytes of five native Australian species. Key results: We identified a diversity of taxa within the native seed and show three taxa that are common to all study hosts. Sampling seed from additional hosts at a site and additional sites of a host species showed new fungal diversity. Our literature review showed that little information is available on native seed microbiomes and we identified four key areas where research gaps exist, linking with seed-based restoration practices. Conclusions: We provide evidence that there is a complex and diverse seed microbiome within some Australian native plants and suggest ways that it could be integrated into restoration and conservation practices. Implications: We propose that by taking into consideration the presence of a seed microbiome and its potential impacts on plant health, seed microbiomes could be used as one method to restore microbial diversity into an ecosystem and to contribute to the seedling microbiome and plant health at restored sites.

Open Access Status

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