THERE ARE MORE MICROOROGANISMS IN PLANTS THAN STARS IN THE SKY

There are thousands of metaphors to describe the relationship between plants and microorganisms. One is to see fungi and bacteria as a legion of Oompa Loompas, the small hard working workers of Willy Wonka’s factory, happy to be working for the company in exchange cocoa galore. Another less imaginative but truer image is that plants compared to a large companies and microorganisms as the many craftsmen and companies of the network, performing all those activities which the company did not believe would be convenient for them to have in house. What happens in the soil, on leaves and even inside plants is not unique: when we sip tea we are never really alone: there are billions of  organisms in our gut and on our skin that are silent and more or less controlled commensals.  In some cases there is a thread linking these relationships and the thread ends in agriculture, health and in the knowledge of the world around us.