We are facing key societal problems of the 21st century, in particular increased global demand for crops that are more resilient to (a)biotic stress and less dependent on fertilisiers and pesticides. The aim of MiCRop is to tackle these with a global vision. To achieve this goal, we have developed an ambitious multi-disciplinary research programme with the following approach:
Studying the evolution of plant-recruited root microbiomes across the plant kingdom
Investigating how microbiome recruitment and functionality change when plants are grown in soils at their centres of origin
Elucidating the mechanisms by which plants selectively recruit their microbiome under conditions of environmental stress
Exploring the functional basis of microbial mechanisms that facilitate plant stress resilience
Translating findings to future application in a microbiome-assisted agricultural context
Sébastien Jaupitre studies the evolution of root-associated microbe recruitment and mechanisms underlying microbiome recruitment specific to the Cucurbitaceae family.
Muhammad Rizaludin aims at elucidating the mechanism underlying biotic-stress induced plant-microbe communication belowground via root-emitted volatile organic compounds.
Dario X. Ramirez-Villacis characterises the stress-induced assembly of the root microbiome of wild and domesticated potatoes in native and agricultural soils in the centre of origin (Ecuador).
Zulema Carracedo Lorenzo aims at identifying plant pathways of stress alleviating microorganism recruitment that could be targeted in plant breeding programs.
Malin Klein studies the evolution of root microbiome recruitment in response to biotic and abiotic stress in wild and cultivated species.
Roland Berdaguer aims at elucidating the mechanisms by which plants of the Solanaceae family, and more specifically tomato, recruit soil microbes that promote the plants’ resilience to drought stress.
Marcela Aragón Gómez is building a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of belowground "cry for help" strategies of the Brassicaceae family in response to insect stress, and identifiying stress-induced core microbiome.
Justin Stewart explores the global evolutionary biogeography of underground networks and how microbial communities assemble.
Melissa Uribe Acosta investigates how defence-related compounds in plants influence the assembly and activity of the rhizosphere and endosphere microbiome.
Stalin Sarango-Flores studies the the microbial community composition of the rizophere in tomato and how genetic features impact the associated microbiome.
Kris de Kreek aims to elucidate the intraspecific genetic variation in Brassica oleracea in attracting beneficial soil microorganisms upon herbivore attack to enhance defence against herbivorous insects.
Davar Abedini investigates microbial recruitment by tomato/potato root under nitrogen deficiency to unravel potato-microbes-PCNs chemical communications.
Sasiwimon Siricharoen studys the influence of maternal environment including different soil types and habitats on microbial communities of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds across different generations, and how these seed microbiome improve abiotic stress (drought and salt) tolerance during seed germination and seedling establishment.