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Plant roots are surrounded by thousands of bacteria and fungi living in the soil and on the root surface. To survive in this diverse environment, plants employ sophisticated detection systems to distinguish pathogenic microorganisms from beneficial microorganisms.
Here the so-called chitin molecules from microorganisms, along with modified versions, play an important role as they are detected by the plant surveillance system. Legumes, for example, build a defence against pathogenic microorganisms in response to simple chitin molecules.
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