Predators of Soil Bacteria in Plant and Human Health

Samuel J. Martins, Stephen J. Taerum, Lindsay Triplett, Joanne B. Emerson, Inga Zasada, Beatriz F. de Toledo, Jasna Kovac, Kendall Martin, Carolee Theresa Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Soil bacterial predators that use the biomass of bacterial hosts for growth (multiplication), energy, or replication have the potential to reduce bacterial populations in the wide variety of terrestrial ecosystems in which they are found. Bacterial predators, including bacteria-feeding nematodes, protists, bacteria (Bdellovibrio and like organisms, Lysobacter, and myxobacteria), and bacteriophages are responsible for bacterial turnover in soils that lead to many ecosystem services. The demonstrated breadth and specificity of bacterial host ranges for these predators make them interesting targets for the management of bacterial plant and human pathogens. However, there remain significant gaps in knowledge that will need to be filled in order to effectively utilize these predators for disease management. Here, we compared predatory strategies of the major groups of soil bacterial predators and outlined the gaps in knowledge or techniques that are limiting research. We offered specific needs and next steps for integrating analyses of predator identity and impact into studies of soil ecosystems in natural and applied settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-200
Number of pages17
JournalPhytobiomes Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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