Plant-associated environments harbor a huge number of diverse bacteria that compete and/or cooperate for the occupation of the most nutrient-rich ecological niches. Motility, a common trait among bacteria, has long been assumed to provide a survival advantage to skilful bacteria in invading these environments. Bacterial surface motility, such as swarming, a flagella-driven type of surface movement, although mostly observed and studied on agar substrates, is emerging as a major trait involved in many functions of plant-associated bacteria in regard to their ability to colonize and spread on their host. In this review, we address some novel swarming motility strategies, which enable bacteria to colonize, disperse and compete in plant surfaces.
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