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

Work package 3: Here, we will investigate the mechanisms by which plants selectively recruit their microbiome under conditions of environmental stress. We will identify and characterise common and unique recruitment mechanisms by plants, and – using the data from WPs 1 and 2 - explore how these recruitment processes have been affected by 100 years of intensive plant breeding to maximize crop performance in high-input agriculture. We will ask how plants have evolved different capacities for using specific microbiome functions to cope with stress, and how microbes affect known and novel stress-adaptive signalling pathways in plants. This will yield insight into plant genes and processes that can be targeted in breeding programmes for future elite crops that are better capable of utilising profitable functions from the root microbiome in agricultural systems.

Graphic showing schematic genes, fungi and microbes