• mycorrhizal fungi;
  • plant growth-promoting bacteria;
  • endophytes;
  • rhizosphere bacteria;
  • elevated CO2;
  • climate change


It is well known that beneficial plant-associated microorganisms may stimulate plant growth and enhance resistance to disease and abiotic stresses. The effects of climate change factors such as elevated CO2, drought and warming on beneficial plant–microorganism interactions are increasingly being explored. This now makes it possible to test whether some general patterns occur and whether different groups of plant-associated microorganisms respond differently or in the same way to climate change. Here, we review the results of 135 studies investigating the effects of climate change factors on beneficial microorganisms and their interaction with host plants. The majority of studies showed that elevated CO2 had a positive influence on the abundance of arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi, whereas the effects on plant growth-promoting bacteria and endophytic fungi were more variable. In most cases, plant-associated microorganisms had a beneficial effect on plants under elevated CO2. The effects of increased temperature on beneficial plant-associated microorganisms were more variable, positive and neutral, and negative effects were equally common and varied considerably with the study system and the temperature range investigated. Moreover, numerous studies indicated that plant growth-promoting microorganisms (both bacteria and fungi) positively affected plants subjected to drought stress. Overall, this review shows that plant-associated microorganisms are an important factor influencing the response of plants to climate change.