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The origin, distribution, and dissemination of the apple microbiome

The origin, distribution, and dissemination of the apple microbiome


The success of any agricultural system and sustainable production depends on the health of its plants. Pests and pathogens
are responsible for the loss of almost one-third of the global crop production. However, microorganisms found in and on
plants are not always the cause of disease. Instead, the naturally occurring microbial communities, the plant’s microbiome,
play an essential role in the development of healthy plants. This project is based on a hypothesis-driven approach to address
fundamental questions about the plant microbiome such as What is the source of a plant’s microbiome? What are the
pathways of inheritance and acquisition? How does the microbiome move, disseminate, and enter a new host? Apple was
selected as a plant model; a fruit that has been a principal component of a healthy diet, and played a major role in human
evolution and survival. The proposed methodology employs cutting-edge and multidisciplinary techniques such as
metagenomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics, among others. Results of this project will help to understand the
microbiome’s life cycle, associate microbes with specific organs and tissues, and identify microbial species that define a
healthy host with healthy organs and offspring. From there, it will be easy to determine changes, understand disease and
disorders, and find ways to correct unbalanced microbiomes. Identifying how the microbes are acquired and to which organs
and tissues they are associated with, will help in understanding the optimal methods to introduce microbial species to the
host. While the proposed approaches are novel, once the validity of the hypotheses is proven, they will serve as a foundation
for future microbiome studies. These studies will drive the development and implementation of safe, environmentally-friendly
strategies for global agriculture production. These innovations in the management of plant health have myriad positive and
far-reaching implications for environmental and human health.
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Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 174 167,04

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 844114


Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 October 2019

  • End date

    30 September 2021

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 174 167,04

  • EU contribution

    € 174 167,04

Coordinated by: