Understanding the dynamics of rhizobiomes to enhance crop productivity

Project: PhD

Project Details


There is a tight link between plants and the soil microbiome with both affecting another. While there is increasing knowledge on the importance of plant species on shaping the microbiome, and the importance of some pathogenic or mutualistic microbes on plant performance, an integrated knowledge on the importance of the immensely complex microbiome on plants in agricultural rotation systems is missing. Here, we explore the links between crop rotation practices and the microbiome including microbial predators (e.g., protists and nematodes). In particular, we aim to elucidate the importance of microbiome diversity and multitrophic complexity for ecosystem functioning and crop productivity in rotation systems. More specifically, I want to understand the dynamics and functioning of rhizosphere microbiome (rhizobiome) in crop rotation systems on nutrient mobilization, nitrogen fixation, pathogen inhibition, and crop performance. Together, the project will provide insights into the importance of rhizobiome for plant growth that should guide optimized rotation practices in more sustainable agricultural systems. I will explore the temporal dynamics of rhizobiome across crop growth stages in diversified rotation systems, and investigate how this affects crop growth (wheat and maize) and the resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. To determine the importance of multitrophic complexity, I will investigate the emerging role of microbial predators in the dynamics of rhizobiome and their influence on crop performance. My research on the multitrophic network complexity in rhizosphere will generate new insight into the pivotal role of microbial interactions underlying microbiome diversity. As such, I aim at optimizing nutrient use efficiency and promoting crop growth via the manipulation of rhizobiome functioning and microbial predation, towards understanding sustainable food production in agroecosystem.
Effective start/end date1/08/21 → …


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