The main objectives are defined as follows :
* The study of microsymbiont biodiversity in the rhizosphere of test plants growing in their natural habitats. This means arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi, Rhizobium sp. and rhizobacteria, and refers to traditional and molecular techniques of identification, tagging and tracking.
* The screening of efficient microbial strains for host/environment compatibility.
* The constitution of mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobial banks.
* The optimization of both microbial inoculation techniques and nursery production of inoculated seedlings.
* The evaluation of the effects of controlled inoculation of seedlings in established experimental reforestation plots under natural conditions. This includes monitoring both plant performance and microbial population dynamics.
The target plants and the symbiosis types are : Pinus halepensis and Cedrus atlantica (both ectomycorrhizal hosts), Argania spinosa (arbuscular mycorrhizal host) Acacia raddiana and Anthyllis cytisoides (both arbuscular mycorrhizal and rhizobial hosts).
The project should provide recommendations for the development of acceptable models for managing forest resources as alternatives to deforestation and resource degradation. It should define appropriate strategies and specific technologies for implementing the following particular aspects :
* To make available a collection of effective ecosystem-adapted microsymbionts.
* To deliver a work-package (ecophysiology, biochemistry and molecular biology approaches) for microbial identification, tagging and tracking.
* To produce plant material endowed with an optimized mycorrhizosphere (improvement of quality in nursery production of target seedlings) available for transplant purposes.
* To establish experimental plots as pilot models available for technology transfer.
* Analysis of microsymbiont diversity, screening of mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobial strains adapted to the potential transplantation sites, and establishment of microbial banks. A novel molecular biology approach will be adapted or developed.
* Optimization of inoculated seedling production upon selecting appropriate host/symbiont/environment combinations. Modern ecophysiological techniques, a molecular biology approach and isotopic methods will be applied to ascertain seedling quality (optimal symbiont establishment, analysis of mechanisms of drought tolerance and adaptation to calcareous soils, measurement of N2-fixation and N transfer).
* Monitoring of plant/microbial performance on outplanting in experimental field plots, molecular microbial ecology techniques, ecophysiology-related methodologies and isotopic- 15N and 13C based-approaches will be used.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
10106 Agdal - Rabat
80002 70000 Agadir