Trichomes are small hair-like structures on the surface of plants, including cannabis, that contain high concentrations of cannabinoids. Some trichomes also harbor endophytic bacteria, which are bacteria that live within the plant and can provide the plant with a range of benefits.
Endophytic bacteria can help the plant to farm nutrients in several ways. For example, some endophytic bacteria can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that the plant can use, such as ammonium or nitrate. This process is called nitrogen fixation and it can help to provide the plant with a source of nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for growth and development.
Other endophytic bacteria can also produce phytohormones, such as indole-3-acetic acid, which can regulate plant growth and development by stimulating cell division and elongation. This is can help the plant grow larger and faster.
Additionally, endophytic bacteria can also break down complex organic compounds, such as polysaccharides and lignin, which can help the plant to access nutrients that are locked away in these compounds.
Endophytic bacteria can also help the plant to tolerate various abiotic stress factors like drought, salinity and high temperature, by producing certain enzymes and other protective compounds that help the plant to cope with the stress.
In summary, endophytic bacteria that live in the trichomes of plants like cannabis can help the plant to farm nutrients by nitrogen fixation, producing phytohormones, breaking down complex organic compounds, and tolerating abiotic stress.
It's worth noting that the interaction between endophytic bacteria and plant is complex and much more research is needed to understand the full extent of their impact on the plant's growth and development.
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Trichomes, like root tip hairs, can help to farm beneficial bacteria on the surface of the plant. Root tip hairs, also called root hairs, are elongated outgrowths of the root epidermis that help to increase the surface area of the root for absorption of water and nutrients. Similarly, trichomes also increase the surface area of the plant and provide a favorable environment for the growth and colonization of beneficial bacteria.
When plants produce exudates and secretions, it creates an environment that is favorable for microbes, like bacteria, to colonize. These exudates, which are rich in sugars, amino acids, and other nutrients, can act as a food source for beneficial bacteria. Additionally, certain compounds produced by trichomes, such as certain terpenes, can also help to attract beneficial bacteria to the plant.
Once the beneficial bacteria colonize the surface of the plant, including the trichomes, they can help to improve the plant's ability to take up nutrients from the soil. This is achieved by a variety of mechanisms, including the fixation of nitrogen, solubilization of phosphorous and chelation of micronutrients, which help to make these essential nutrients available for the plant.
This mutualistic relationship between plants and bacteria is referred to as rhizosphere and this process, specifically the one in trichomes is known as rhizophagy, which is the ability of a plant to feed on microbes living in or around its roots or trichomes.
It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind this relationship, but studies have shown that the ability of trichomes to farm beneficial bacteria can lead to improved plant growth, increased nutrient uptake, and better defense against pathogens.
- White, J. F. (2016). The rhizophagy cycle: how plants get nutrients from microbes. Microbe, 11(2), 49-55
- Gaffal K, Weiler EW. Trichomes of higher plants: diversity, development, and secretory functions. Plant Biol. 2017;19:735–46.