In the past few decades, climate change has become one of the biggest threats to the Earth’s ecosystem and biodiversity. Several environmental stress factors such as salinity and drought have already threatened the viability of sustainable agriculture, an alarm bell to researchers. Soil salinity hampers development through its effects on the morphological, physiological, and biochemical processes associated with plant growth. Drought, on the other hand, affects the productivity of crops. It is anticipated that by 2050, drought will be the leading cause of hampered crop production due to increases in the magnitude of climate change. These changes present a formidable challenge when it comes to feeding a global population, which will require an 0.84% annual increase in crop production. Climate change-induced environmental changes and the continuously growing world population, therefore, demand renewed efforts to increase food production. In this regard, the role of the phytobiome in assuring soil-plant health will be an important issue across crop-wide and area-wide research.

A plant’s microbiome plays an important role in guiding plant growth and development. Plants adapted to extreme conditions, such as those in desert or saline environments, harbor microbes in their rhizosphere or endosphere that help to provide the required physiological resistance necessary to survive in those environments. Microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses associated with plant roots increase plants’ resistance to various abiotic and biotic stresses. Microorganisms also moderate stress for crop plants, paving the way for sustainable agriculture.

Plant growth-promoting microbes (PGPM), such as bacteria and fungi, promote plant growth through various mechanisms, such as siderophore production, nitrogen fixation, and phytohormone production. Some PGPMs also help plants grow by sequestering heavy metals, producing antibiotics, hydrolyzing the cell wall of fungal pathogens, and solubilizing nutrients and minerals. At the same time, many viruses infect plants and mediate drought tolerance by regulating osmoprotectants, antioxidants, and phytohormone signalling. Isolation of these PGPMs from wild or native plants or degraded lands can help plants survive long-lasting droughts and salinity stress. Using these PGPMs as biofertilizers, biostimulants, or bioagents will likely provide some plausible solutions for declining soil and plant health vis-a-vis crop production.

For this Research Topic we invite authors to submit manuscripts on themes that include, but are not limited to the following:

• The role of a plant’s microbiome (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) in growth and development.
• The role of plant microbiome (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) in nutrition and soil health.
• The utilization of plant growth-promoting microbes (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) for enhancing stress tolerance.