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Rhizosphere engineering: influence on signaling behavior and colonization under drought conditions

Project description

Impact of drought on plant–microbe interactions in wheat

The development of sustainable crops requires greater knowledge of plant–microbe interactions within the rhizosphere and their response to water stress. The EU-funded RhizoEng project will use a multidisciplinary approach to decode the root-signalling behaviour, microbial assemblage and subsequent drought tolerance in wheat. Experiments will be conducted to identify different root-signalling behaviour under drought conditions in natural soil and shed light on the microbiota and counter-responses in the rhizosphere. The results will be integrated to create a "rhizosphere engineering" strategy for improved microbial assemblage and drought tolerance in wheat. Hence, the project will significantly increase our understanding of plant–microbe crosstalk under drought conditions in natural soil environments and support the emerging field of microbe-aided drought smart cultivation.

Objective

Sustainability of climate smart agriculture is dependent on effectiveness of management strategies. Plant-microbe interactions within the rhizosphere are specifically deliberated to achieve the goal of sustainable crop production. Researchers on a global scale are making serious efforts over the past few decades and have resulted in significantly increase in our understanding regarding various aspects of plant-microbe interactions under abiotic stress, but gap is yet seen in the current knowledge regarding the factors governing host-microbe bilateral crosstalk within the rhizosphere, which has significantly limited the attempts to expedite the host-microbe signaling under abiotic stress conditions including drought. With this proposal I hypothesise that drought-smart cultivation is possible through rhizosphere engineering and that changes in the colonizing microbial consortia may result in resilient, drought resistant plants. To test my hypothesis, I will unite the disciplines of microbiology, plant science, molecular biology, and molecular ecology to decode the root-signaling behavior, microbial assemblage, and subsequent drought tolerance in wheat. I will achieve this by a) conducting a meticulously designed experiment which will allow identification of differential root-signaling behavior in wheat under drought conditions in the natural soil regime; b) multi-disciplinary investigations on soil-microbial dynamics to explain the microbial assemblage and counter-responses in wheat rhizosphere under drought conditions; c) by integrating the wheat-root signaling behavior with the soil-microbial counter responses, which will form the basis to devise ‘rhizosphere engineering’ strategy for improved microbial assemblage and drought tolerance in wheat. Consequently, the outcomes will significantly advance the fundamental aspects of plant-microbial crosstalk under drought conditions in natural soil environment, and emerging field of microbe-aided drought smart cultivation.

Coordinator

AARHUS UNIVERSITET
Net EU contribution
€ 207 312,00
Address
NORDRE RINGGADE 1
8000 Aarhus C
Denmark

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Region
Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 207 312,00