Are modern crop varieties less compatible with their natural symbionts than older ones?

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

In natural soils, plant uptake of nutrients often take place in collaboration with naturally occurring symbiotic microorganisms. For agricultural plants, plant breeding has for centuries focused on optimized growth and yield when supplied with abundant and easy available mineral nutrients. Since there is a strong movement in agriculture and society towards reducing nutrient levels and replacing mineral nutrients with more complex organic sources, an intriguing question is whether compatibility between plant varieties and the indigenous soil microbiota, the microbiome, has been compromised during successive breeding. To test this hypothesis, we suggest using the obligate symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi as model microbiome group. A range of e.g. modern and old barley or oat varieties is available for experimentation and could be used to test the hypothesis. NB. Master students in Mycology can apply the Lauritz W Olson foundation for travel support in connection with sampling campaigns, conferences or research stays abroad.


Methods used:plant growth, plant nutrition, nutrient analysis, microscopy, stainings
Keywords:arbuscular mycorrhiza, microbiome, nutrition, crops, symbiosis
Supervisor(s):  Rasmus Kjøller (BIO), Kristian Holst Laursen (PLEN)