The main objective of the project is to optimize the forage production of C. calothyrsus on small farms by inoculation with highly efficient strains of rhizobia and/or mycorrhiza strains selected under laboratory, greenhouse and field conditions. In order to achieve this objective we will investigate the main symbiotic characteristics of C. calothyrsus, evaluate a range of potential inocula, and attempt to produce a suitable microbial inoculum for inoculating plants under field conditions.
The participating research organizations will be able to produce and dispense selected strains of microsymbionts suitable for use on farms in order to increase forage production. Researchers involved in the project from both European and third country institutes will have the opportunity to train in technical areas, such as inoculum production, and in scientific areas, such as survey of the biodiversity of rhizobia strains and study the persistence of rhizobia after inoculation in soil.
Research activities are concentrated in two main areas :
1. Collection of microsymbionts of C. calothyrsus. The project will establish a large collection of rhizobia and mycorrhiza isolated respectively from the nodules and roots of this species harvested in its native range (Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico), and in humid countries where it has been successfully introduced (Cameroon, Kenya and New Caledonia). After evaluation of the biodiversity within the collection of microsymbionts, a symbiotic screening will be carried out in the laboratory and greenhouse in order to select the most efficient strains for inoculation under field conditions.
2. Field inoculation of C. calothyrsus. Existing methodologies for producing rhizobial inoculum and inoculating plants under field conditions will be developed further for inoculation in field stations, and finally, under farm conditions.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
EH26 0QB Penicuik
OX1 3RA Oxford