Microbial consortia that optimize plant growth

Main area:Ecology
Target group:Biology
Educational level:Masters, Bachelor
Project description:

For environmental and economic reasons it is desirable to reduce the use of chemical substances in agriculture to a minimum. Crop-plants that do not receive chemical fertilizers and pesticides are very dependent on the microorganisms in their vicinity. These organisms affect plant growth and plant health, as providers of nutrients but also often act as pathogens. For most organisms it is not a question of either or, i.e. they affect plants in both growth promoting and growth inhibiting ways. This dilemma becomes even more pronounced as organisms normally occur in more or less stable consortia. Thus in this project, we aim to design microbial consortia that optimally support plant growth. Our ultimate goal is to apply these consortia in the field and inoculate them in in rice cultures. The project takes place in collaboration with PLEN, Globe Institute and Aarhus University.

This project is part of a broader research initiative where we study relations between plants and biotic and abiotic belowground-factors.

You can approach the problem in different ways, which will determine more specifically the methods you will use.

Methods used:Cultivation of microorganisms. Sampling of microorganisms. Identification of bacteria and fungi. PCR and sequencing. Analyses of soil properties. Others depending on the specific project.
Keywords:Plant-growth , Microbial consortia, Plant-growth promoting bacteria, Symbiosis , Pathogens
Supervisor(s):  Flemming Ekelund