Authors: Mehtab Muhammad ASLAM, Eyalira J. OKAL, Aisha Lawan IDRIS, Zhang QIAN, Weifeng XU, Joseph K. KARANJA, Shabir H. WANI, Wei YUAN
Beneficial root-associated rhizospheric microbes play a key role in maintaining host plant growth and can potentially allow drought-resilient crop production. The complex interaction of root-associated microbes mainly depends on soil type, plant genotype, and soil moisture. However, drought is the most devastating environmental stress that strongly reduces soil biota and can restrict plant growth and yield. In this review, we discussed our mechanistic understanding of drought and microbial response traits. Additionally, we highlighted the role of beneficial microbes and plant-derived metabolites in alleviating drought stress and improving crop growth. We proposed that future research might focus on evaluating the dynamics of root-beneficial microbes under field drought conditions. The integrative use of ecology, microbial, and molecular approaches may serve as a promising strategy to produce more drought-resilient and sustainable crops.