Advancing environmental sustainability through microbial reprogramming in growth improvement, stress alleviation, and phytoremediation

Babar Iqbal, Guanlin Li, Khulood Fahad Alabbosh, Hamad Hussain, Ismail Khan, Muhammad Tariq, Qaiser Javed, Muhammad Naeem, Naveed Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The substantial influence of microbes on crop growth, stress resilience, and ecological restoration has generated considerable interest due to the complex interplay between these microorganisms and plants. This review comprehensively examines the diverse mechanisms through which microorganisms contribute to plant well-being, mitigate stress, and facilitate phytoremediation processes. Microorganisms encompassing bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses, have demonstrated their knack for stirring up growth-enabling hormones, activating pathways tuned to stress, and ameliorating the availability of nutrients by means of fixation and solubilization Furthermore, such microorganisms also display immense potential in phytoremediation strategies by aiding plants in the extraction, alteration, and detoxification of contaminants found in both soil and water. Complementing this, these microbes enable phytoextraction, rhizofiltration, phytostabilization, and rhizodegradation, owing to their harmonious interaction with plants for the purification of tainted environments. However, it is critical to address legal issues, moral dilemmas, and potential unintended consequences as microorganisms are increasingly incorporated into ecological restoration and sustainable agriculture methods. Optimizing microbial therapies and ensuring their appropriate use offers promising insights when leveraging cutting-edge technologies like omics and genetic engineering. In addition, coordination among academics, practitioners, and policymakers is still crucial in the quest for a more robust and peaceful coexistence between microbes, plants, and ecosystems. In a nutshell, this work highlights the pivotal role that microorganisms are poised to assume, guiding the trajectory of agriculture, alleviating stress, and fostering environmental sustainability with far-reaching implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100283
JournalPlant Stress
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental restoration
  • Microorganisms
  • Phytoremediation
  • Plant growth
  • Stress amelioration


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