Phytochemical compounds are derived from diets containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and plant-based beverages. There are many bioactive plant metabolites such as carotenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes, hydroxycinnamic acids, phytosterols and lignans. Through various physiological mechanisms phytochemical compounds have protective or disease preventative properties and many studies have been undertaken to reveal the health benefits of phytochemicals. After all, you are what you eat!
Recently there has been great interest in plant-associated microorganisms and their interactions. Microbes use different biochemical and molecular mechanisms to promote the growth and development of plants and increase their tolerance to stress. So, is it possible to use plant metabolites their interactions with microbes to help solve environmental stress problems? The use of microbes in promoting crop productivity and mitigating disease and abiotic stresses such as drought, extreme temperatures, may become an effective and economically viable strategy. However, more research into plant-microbe interactions and the discovery of more stress tolerant microbes will be of key importance to making this strategy a success. Metabolomics will make great inroads in learning more about plant metabolites and their biochemical processes.