MiCRop research

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:

MICROP approach, showing how the workpackages 1-5 are connected with each other

Research themes

WP1: Cry for help: stress-induced microbiome recruitment across the plant kingdom

Studying the evolution of plant-recruited root microbiomes across the plant kingdom

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WP2: Walk on the wild side of plant microbiomes

Investigating how microbiome recruitment and functionality change when plants are grown in soils at their centres of origin

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WP3: Digging deep: Mechanisms and plasticity of stress-induced microbiome recruitment

Elucidating the mechanisms by which plants selectively recruit their microbiome under conditions of environmental stress

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WP4: Digging deeper: Microbiome functions facilitating plant stress resilience

Exploring the functional basis of microbial mechanisms that facilitate plant stress resilience

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WP5: Demonstrator: Harnessing the plant microbiome for stress-resilient future crops

Translating findings to future application in a microbiome-assisted agricultural context

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Research projects

Mechanisms underlying plant-root microbiome recruitment under stress

Sébastien Jaupitre studies the evolution of root-associated microbe recruitment and mechanisms underlying microbiome recruitment specific to the Cucurbitaceae family.

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Stress induced long-distance communication between plant and microbes

Muhammad Rizaludin aims at elucidating the mechanism underlying biotic-stress induced plant-microbe communication belowground via root-emitted volatile organic compounds.

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Stress-induced microbiome assembly in Solanaceae in their centres of origin

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).

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Microbe-drought/insect-plant interaction

Zulema Carracedo Lorenzo aims at identifying plant pathways of stress alleviating microorganism recruitment that could be targeted in plant breeding programs.

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Evolution of stress-induced microbiome recruitment of legumes

Malin Klein studies the evolution of root microbiome recruitment in response to biotic and abiotic stress in wild and cultivated species.

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Mechanisms of root microbiome recruitment under drought stress in Solanaceae/tomato

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.

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Phylogenetic approach of Brassicaceae microbiome recruitment in response to insect 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.

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Evolutionary Biogeography of Underground Microbial Networks

Justin Stewart explores the global evolutionary biogeography of underground networks and how microbial communities assemble.

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Interplay between the plant defense system and the root-associated microbiome during stress

Melissa Uribe Acosta investigates how defence-related compounds in plants influence the assembly and activity of the rhizosphere and endosphere microbiome.

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Deciphering the impact of domestication on the tomato root microbiome

Stalin Sarango-Flores studies the the microbial community composition of the rizophere in tomato and how genetic features impact the associated microbiome.

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