MICROBE-ASSISTED CROP PRODUCTION-OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES & NEEDS
There is unbroken interest in soil and plant microbiomes and their important contribution in agro-systems. Plant microbiota are diverse and provide important functions for their host’s performance, and mediate functions like nutrient delivery, fitness, stress tolerance, and pathogen or pest control. Current understanding of plant-microbe interactions is helping to develop microbial products, new applications to improve crop production, and create alternatives to chemicals. Microbial ecology is an important asset for understanding the fate of applied microorganisms in a natural environment, and for affecting product development. Greater understanding of microbiome functioning will also lead to new routes of exploration.
The increasing awareness of and interest in plant microbiota is linked to the urgent need to find solutions for current challenges in global crop production such as climate change and global demographic development. Difficulties to be overcome include world-wide population increases, extreme weather events and highly variable weather conditions, emerging pathogens and pests, and diminishing land resources. Furthermore, the use of chemical pesticides poses a threat to human health, animal welfare, and biodiversity. Innovations based on the functioning of plant microbiota have the potential to contribute to combating these challenges.
The symposium “Microbe-assisted crop production – opportunities, challenges and needs” (miCROPe 2022) addresses basic and applied aspects of applying beneficial microorganisms in crop production. Scientific sessions will address different functions of microorganisms in crop production, ranging from biocontrol to nutrition and stress resilience. Furthermore, we will address plant mechanisms, functional understanding and most importantly also address how microbiomes can be translated in field applications.
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