Can plants develop their own bacterial symbionts?

Our principle task as growers is to farm soil microbes. The larger and more vigorous a population of microbes we can grow in our soil profiles, the more nutritious and healthier our crops will become. Soil biology can supply all of a crops nutritional requirements when they are well managed and well supported.

A recent fascinating book that connects many dots in the historical research which have not come to mainstream attention is Herwig Pommeresche’s Humusphere. Translated from German, it is a treasure trove of references to European research on plant, soil, and microbial interactions which have been ignored in mainstream agronomy.

Here is an excerpt on the topic of remutation, how plants can develop bacterial cells from mitochondria and chloroplasts:


Recognizing that endocytosis takes place in plants is an important piece of support for the microbiological model of the cycle of living material, which includes microorganisms.

But there is also another area of microbiological research that seems to have completely lost the attention of the modern scientific community. It essentially represents the second half of the endosymbiosis theory developed by Lynn Margulis and the adherents of the Gaia hypothesis. This is remutation, postulated by Hugo Schanderl. In 1947, Schanderl1 had already succeeded in breeding and regenerating remutating, as he called it – living, viable microorganisms out of certain cell components, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts, from plant tissue after it died. These experiments showed that any living cell is capable of releasing new life after it has died.

Schanderl described every mutation in agricultural soil bacteriology as follows in 19702: “When a plant is buried, the soil is enriched with bacteria not only because a vast number of existing soil bacteria decompose and break down the plant corpse, multiplying tremendously in the process, but also because the soil is enriched with bacteria from higher plants as they break themselves down. Certainly, bacteria present in the soil also find abundant nutrients during composting, which allows them to multiply. But, as can be experimentally demonstrated, no bacteria need to enter from the outside whatsoever for decomposition to take place and a breeding ground of bacteria to arise.”

He continues in the same article: “A significant proportion of the bacteria regenerated from plant cell organelles present in cow dung return to the planting soil. Unlike artificial fertilizer, this kind of fertilizer is filled with life and enriches the soil with bacterial life, increasing it’s fertility.”

After more than fifty years of being ignored and denied by the sciences, the remutation model is now being indirectly confirmed by cellular and molecular research. Autonomous DNA that is independent of the cell’s nucleus has been found in both mitochondria and chloroplasts, which has led to acknowledgement of the endosymbiosis theory. In evolutionary terms, this also describes how ancient single-celled microorganisms relinquished their independence in favor of organizing into larger cells and, in a manner of speaking, were relegated into subordinate cell components.

Schanderl’s remutation model implies that all decomposing organic substances, as well as all seeds that are starting the development of new life, are most likely capable of reshaping their own cell components into autonomous microorganisms such that living plants can employ their help – if they reabsorb them from their surroundings – to carry on their metabolic processes. The question also arises as to what extent living cells are even able to absorb an exclusive diet of inorganic, water-soluble salt ions. Page 43-45

1. Rudloff, C. F. & Schanderl, H. Befruchtungsbiologie der Obstgewächse und ihre Anwendung in der Praxis. (1945).

2. Schanderl, H. Über die Isolierung von Bakterien aus normalem Pflanzengewebe und ihre vermutliche Herkunft. (1951).