Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Harnessing the soil microbiome for improved stress tolerance in crop plants

Which compounds and microorganisms that live near and inside plant roots are beneficial? Can we use this knowledge to improve the health and growth of crop plants?

2016 - 2020
Gilles van Wezel
NWO Groen NWO Groen

Wageningen University & Research Bioinformatics group
Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)

A beneficial soil microbiome

Currently, only cursory knowledge is available on the metabolic and taxonomic features that render soil microbiomes beneficial: while a number of beneficial microbes and microbial metabolites have been identified on a case-by-case basis, new systematic strategies are needed to uncover the full metabolic potential of soil microbiomes to enhance plant stress resilience. We aim to develop an innovative metagenome-wide association strategy to pinpoint bioactive metabolites and the producing microorganisms.

Natural products to improve plant health

This fundamental knowledge will then be used by the consortium to develop new soil quality assessment tools and (microbial) natural products to combat diseases and drought. Collectively, our research will provide new means to improve soil microbiomes to benefit plant health.

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