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Abstract, International Journal of Molecular Science, 2019

K+ is an essential cation and the most abundant in plant cells. After N, its corresponding element, K, is the nutrient required in the largest amounts by plants. Despite the numerous roles of K in crop production, improvements in the uptake and efficiency of use of K have not been major focuses in conventional or transgenic breeding studies in the past. In research on the mineral nutrition of plants in general, and K in particular, this nutrient has been shown to be essential to soil-dwelling-microorganisms (fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, etc.) that form mutualistic associations and that can influence the availability of mineral nutrients for plants. Therefore, this article aims to provide an overview of the role of soil microorganisms in supplying K+ to plants, considering both the potassium-solubilizing microorganisms and the potassium-facilitating microorganisms that are in close contact with the roots of plants. These microorganisms can influence the active transporter-mediated transfer of K+. Regarding the latter group of microorganisms, special focus is placed on the role of endophytic fungus. This review also includes a discussion on productivity through sustainable agriculture.

Keywords: potassium; K+-solubilizers; K+ transporters; soil microorganisms; symbiosis with plants; mycorrhizal; endophytes