Climate change has limited the availability of water for irrigating crops throughout many regions of the world. Indeed, current models of climate change predict that arid and semi-arid zones will be places where precipitation will drastically decrease. In this context plant root-associated fungi from ecosystems currently subjected to severe drought conditions could improve the ecophysiological performance and quantum yield of crops exposed to drought. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Molina-Montenegro et al. evaluated how the inoculation of fungal endophytes isolated from Antarctic plants can improve the net photosynthesis, water use efficiency and production of fresh biomass in a lettuce cultivar, grown under different water availability regimes. Such application of Antarctic root-endophytes to different crops could be a biotechnological tool for food security.
Molina-Montenegro, M. A., Oses, R., Torres-Díaz, C., Atala, C., Zurita-Silva, A., & Ruiz-Lara, S. (2016). Root-endophytes improve the ecophysiological performance and production of an agricultural species under drought condition. AoB Plants, 8, plw062. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plw062