In hotter, dryer conditions with climate change, a secret agent for more sustainable agricultural production could lie in harvesting the diverse beneficial soil microbiome in native bushland settings, scientists say.
New research from CSIRO, Flinders University and La Trobe University highlights the importance of soil biological health and further potential to use organic rather than chemical farm inputs for crop production.
"We know antibiotics are very useful in pharmaceuticals, and actinobacteria found plentifully and in balance in various natural environments play a vital role in the plant world," says lead author Dr Ricardo Araujo, a visiting Flinders University researcher from the University of Porto in Portugal.
"These actino bacterial communities contribute to global carbon cycling by helping to decompose soil nutrients, increase plant productivity, regulate climate support ecosystems -- and are found in abundance in warm, dry soil conditions ."
Flinders University colleague Professor Chris Franco, says biotechnology has long benefited from actinobacteria for human and animal health products, and increasingly in sustainable agriculture.