Plant-growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) stimulate plant growth through diverse mechanisms. In addition to biological nitrogen fixation, diazotrophic PGPB can improve nutrient uptake efficiency from the soil, produce and release phytohormones to the host, and confer resistance against pathogens. The genetic determinants that drive the success of biological nitrogen fixation in nonlegume plants are understudied. These determinants include recognition and signaling pathways, bacterial colonization, and genotype specificity between host and bacteria. This review presents recent discoveries of how nitrogen-fixing PGPB interact with cereals and promote plant growth. We suggest adopting an experimental model system, such as the Setaria–diazotrophic bacteria association, as a reliable way to better understand the associated mechanisms and, ultimately, increase the use of PGPB inoculants for sustainable agriculture.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.