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CORDIS

Knowledge based design of complex synthetic microbial communities for plant protection

Project description

How to seed microbial communities to develop functional probiotics

Microbiota are important for plant growth. Living on the surfaces of higher organisms, these tiny organisms critically impact the health of their host – contributing to vital functions but also acting as reservoirs for facultative pathogens. The EU-funded DeCoCt project will decode this complex process, which is vital to curing detrimental microbiota. Drawing on previous experience in studying microbial communities through lab experiments and analysing factors that shape the microbiota of Arabidopsis thaliana plants under natural conditions, the project will identify key stability factors and drivers of communal dynamics to reconstitute synthetic communities. Findings will shed light on how to seed microbial communities that develop into functional probiotics, a key challenge.

Objective

"Complex microbial communities (""microbiota"") that populate surfaces of higher organisms critically impact health of their hosts: They contribute to vital functions such as host fitness, nutrient acquisition, stress tolerance and pathogen resistance but are, at the same time, reservoirs for facultative pathogens or can promote pathogenesis. How and why communities shift from a beneficial to a detrimental state is largely unknown and we are far from utilizing identified mechanisms.
In order to cure detrimental microbiota, that were damaged or reverted through stress factors including previous diseases, decoding the complex processes governing microbiota dynamics is a key challenge. To develop durable probiotics, communal stability or the ability of a community to return to a steady state following perturbation is a key factor.
Our lab has broad expertise in studying microbial communities through lab experiments and analyzing factors that shape the microbiota of Arabidopsis thaliana plants under natural conditions and common garden experiments. We have discovered a hierarchical order in microbial community networks with hub microbes as key elements. A recent breakthrough was the discovery of microbial taxa that persist throughout the life of A. thaliana plants and their importance in network stability.
In this project we will use our expertise to identify key stability factors and drivers of communal dynamics to reconstitute synthetic communities. How to seed microbial communities that develop into functional probiotics is a key challenge. We will use knowledge based assembly of complex communities to seeds protective microbiota. We will challenge those through pathogens and abiotic factors to refine and test the predictive power of our analyses. Therefore, DeCoCt represents a highly innovative approach that holds the potential to gain novel insights beyond the current scope of microbiota and probiotics research."

Host institution

EBERHARD KARLS UNIVERSITAET TUEBINGEN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 925 500,00
Address
GESCHWISTER-SCHOLL-PLATZ
72074 Tuebingen
Germany

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Region
Baden-Württemberg Tübingen Tübingen, Landkreis
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 1 925 500,00

Beneficiaries (1)