OPtimization of microbial consortia for RICE culturING with a genetic algorithm

The increasing world population implies an increasing need for crop plants; albeit with less use of pesticides and fertilizers. Part of the solution to this challenge is to optimize microorganisms in the plant root vicinity to maximally support plant growth. This is, however, difficult on a larger scale, since organisms artificially amended to soil often die. In this project we take a step further; we aim at optimizing microbial communities using a genetic algorithm based on the principles of natural selection. Thus, we focus on the function of the complex microbial communities instead of individual organisms. Therefore, the engineered microbial consortia become more efficient, and the organisms will co-function better. We focus on rice plants. Our success criterion is microbial consortia that yield maximum plant growth and suppress pathogens. Further, the validation of the communities includes molecular analysis. Ultimately the communities will be tested under field conditions in China.

Projektet er finansieret af Det Frie Forskningsråd. Bevillings-ID: DFF - 4002-00274.