Pedosphere 32(1): 184--197, 2022
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2022 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Soil protists: An untapped microbial resource of agriculture and environmental importance
C. G. Bhakta Institute of Biotechnology, Uka Tarsadia University, Maliba Campus, Bardoli, Surat 394 350(India)
      Protists are essential components of soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. They play a vital role in the microbial food web as consumers of bacteria, fungi, and other small eukaryotes and are also involved in maintaining soil fertility and plant productivity. Protists also contribute to regulating and shaping the bacterial community in terrestrial ecosystems via specific prey spectra. They play a role in plant growth promotion and plant health improvement, mostly via nutrient cycling, grazing, and the activation of bacterial genes required for plant growth and phytopathogen suppression. Thus, protists may prove to be a useful inoculant as biofertilizer and biocontrol agent. They can also be applied as model organisms as bioindicators of soil health. Despite their usefulness and essentiality, they are often forgotten and under-researched components of the soil microbiome, as most of our research focuses on bacteria and fungi. In this review, we provide an overview of the role of protists in plant productivity and plant health management and in shifts in soil bacterial community composition, as well as their roles as bioindicator. We also discuss the perspectives of knowledge gaps and future prospects to further improve soil biology. More research in soil protistology will provide insights into sustainable agriculture and environmental health alongside the study of bacteria and fungi.
Key Words:  bacterial community,bioindicator,microbial food web,plant health,plant productivity,soil biodiversity,soil health,soil microbiome
Citation: Chandarana K A, Amaresan N. 2022. Soil protists: An untapped microbial resource of agriculture and environmental importance. Pedosphere. 32(1): 184–197.
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