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Banking Rhizosphere Micro-Organisms.
European - Russian initiative to set up a network of rhizosphere microbiological resources centres

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Building a rhizosphere microbe network

A new EU-Russian network of organisations and databases will coordinate information on soil-based microorganisms, which play a key role in plant and ecosystem health.

Climate Change and Environment

Microorganisms in the soil, and especially those found near the roots of plants, play a crucial role in the state of ecosystems. Known as the rhizosphere, this complex system controls nutrients in the soil, improves plant productivity and helps plants resist disease. It also may adsorb and digest soil pollutants. Studying the rhizosphere may provide new ways to prevent plant stress, uncover new pathogens and give insights into how ecosystems function. The EU-funded BRIO (Banking rhizosphere micro-organisms. European - Russian initiative to set up a network of rhizosphere microbiological resources centres) project combined EU and Russian databases and culture collections of rhizosphere microorganisms for use in research and industry. Each research group selected their best microorganism stocks for a common database, which has resulted in a list of more than 1 100 documented strains. The database categorised microorganisms into biopesticides, biofertilisers and bioremediation. The database is maintained by BRIO members grouped into PERN, the Pan-European Rhizosphere Network established during the project. Researchers completed a guideline for adding or removing material from the database, to ensure that no stocks are lost. New network members received training in using the database. PERN partners also worked hard to create common policies and procedures to ensure the network functions smoothly. Lastly, PERN members conducted field surveys in Russia to add new organisms to the growing database. The PERN network will support the EU's knowledge-based bioeconomy by providing valuable knowledge and resources to researchers and industry members. This will allow for new research and innovation in the field.


Soil, microorganisms, ecosystem, rhizosphere, plant, microbiological resources, biofertilisers, biopesticides, bioremediation

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Climate Change and Environment

2 April 2014