Plant microbiomes – the link between crop traits and below-ground interactions

AIT, FiBL and UCL investigate plant microbiomes aiming to better understand the link between crop traits and below-ground interactions. Plant microbiomes comprising highly complex bacterial, fungal and archaeal communities have lately received high attention due to their important role in ecosystem functioning and also having a major impact on plant health and growth.

One SolACE experiment performed at INRAE in Clermont-Ferrand, France was dedicated to understanding the effect of combined stress, i.e. drought and nutrient limitation, on the relevant traits of eleven different wheat varieties. 

Within two days the rhizospheres and roots at the growth stage “heading” were sampled by Hanna Faist with the help of Jacques Legouis and Renaut Rincent. Immediately after sampling, the DNA was isolated to perform a cultivation-independent analysis of bacterial, fungal and archaeal communities. Currently, the microbial communities are being analysed for diversity, community structure and functional potential using microbiome and metagenome approaches.

The experimental design is comparable to the potato experiment conducted in Scotland, and we will analyse the response of microbiomes to stress and wheat genotype differences.

Currently, microbiome diversity and functioning are being investigated in various SolACE field experiments. Results from these inquiries will provide crucial information on the interactions between plants, microbiomes and the environment.