Versterking plantweerbaarheid door endofyten

Versterking plantweerbaarheid door endofyten


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Landbouw, Water, Voedsel>A. Kringlooplandbouw>A2. Gezonde, robuuste bodem en teeltsystemen gebaseerd op agro-ecologie en zonder schadelijke emissies naar grond- en oppervlaktewater






Bacteria and fungi that live together in association with plants can provide natural protection against pests and diseases. The microbial communities that live in, on and around plants are called the plant microbiome (fungi and bacteria for the main type of organisms). Each plant species has its own distinct microbiome composition and we could improve plant resistance by modifying and steering this plant microbiome. It could be done by adding beneficial (i.e. suppressing pest or pathogenic biological agents) bacteria or fungi to plants through inoculation.
To date, little is known about the impact of inoculating bacteria and fungi on the composition of the plant microbiome and on the plant's physiological responses. We hypothesize that the application of microbial inoculants to plants will result in changes in the composition of the plant microbiome and in the metabolic status of the host plants. Causal relationships between the composition of the plant microbiome and plant metabolism and the future impact on plant resistance against biotic stresses will be investigated in this project. Cascading action in the plant and its microbiome can
thus be expected after microbial inoculation and the consequences thereof have rarely been studied in a consistent manner. To study this topic three different crops are used here. Ten microbials (bacteria and fungi) known for their beneficial effects on plants were tested and best-working agents selected for follow-up studies. Plant inoculated with the microbials were also tested for their resistance to pathogens and pest-causing agents. This project will bring more knowledge on the elements participating to plant resilience via inoculation of microorganisms. This knowledge will be communicated amongst others to growers, breeders and seed treatment companies.

Doel van het project

The aim of the project is to investigate the impact of microbial inoculation on the composition of the microbiome of plants and the metabolic reactions of plants through an integrated approach. With this approach it is our intention to gain more and deeper insight into the defense mechanisms of plants against predators. Research is being conducted to answer three fundamental questions, regarding: 1) the transmission to, and the location in plants of introduced microbial populations, 2) the metabolic balance of the host plant after establishment of endophytic populations, 3) the interactions between endophytic populations within the plant microbiome, and 4) developing an integrative and interactive model that takes into account changes in plant physiology and microbiome composition.

Relatie met missie (Motivatie)

The demand for food is constantly increasing, so it is important that crops grow unimpeded without pests and diseases. The most common way to protect plants is to use chemical pesticides. However, the use of chemical pesticides is more and more limited, as these agents can be harmful to humans and to the environment. Therefore, the demand for organic solutions based on living microorganisms, which occur naturally in plant ecosystems, is increasing. A possible biological alternative to using chemical pesticides is to take advantage of the plant microbiome. In addition, the reason for this research is that there is currently a great deal of attention at international and national level in the field of microbial inoculants, endophytes and plant microbiomes. The problem is that there is still little coherence in plant microbiome research and this is partly due to a technical reason (for example purification of bacterial DNA from plants, but also specificity of fungi and bacteria for certain plant species and sometimes these microorganisms are specific for only a limited number of cultivars), but also the unprecedented number of possibilities in which various microorganisms can interact with plants. Summarized in an "interaction triangle" it should be clear that microbial interactions with plants are complex.

Geplande acties

The results obtained until now are the following:
- 2018: Effect of microbial inoculant on plant resistance to pest/pathogens and ecology of microbial inoculants in plants (deliverable 1).

- 2019: Metabolic response of the plants and induction of immune mechanisms (measurement of changes in secondary metabolite composition, e.g. alkaloids) in response to the presence of pathogen/pest, microbial inoculant and combination of both (deliverable 2).

-2020: Microbiome adaptation (via changes in the fungal and bacterial community composition) as a result of microbial treatment in the presence and absence of pathogen/pest (deliverable 3).

Results planned for 2021:
- Combination of the metabolomic and microbiome data to search for patterns involved in plant resilience.
- Development of an integrative and descriptive model of induction of plant resistance based on plant metabolic response and plant microbiome analysis (deliverable 4).

In addition, a meeting is organized once a year with all partners to keep them informed and to discuss the results and the next steps of the project. One report and at least one scientific article will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. The results of the project will be communicated to the growers and to the stakeholder.