Response of the strawberry rhizosphere microbiome to chitin and biochar in function of plant health: expanding towards metatranscriptomics and DNA-SIP

01 October 2017 → 30 September 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
plant health
Project description

An alternative strategy to fertilizer and pesticide application, is the use of environment-friendly

substrate amendments such as chitin and biochar to improve crop growth and disease resistance.

Chitin or biochar amendment to substrate have proven to increase disease resistance and growth

of plants, which is at least in part regulated through a change in the microbial community

interacting with the plant root system. However the mechanisms by which chitin or biochar induce

these changes and by which the altered microbiomes assist in those plant beneficial effects are

currently poorly understood.

In this project, a combination of ‘mics will be used to study the effect of chitin and biochar on the

rhizosphere and substrate microbiome. Data analysis remains challenging and the state-of-the-art

methods are often not tailored towards the meta-‘mics. Therefore, proper data analysis pipelines

have to be developed to give reliable information on the effect of chitin and biochar addition on

the rhizosphere microbiome.

Strawberry, an economic important plant in Belgium, typically cultivated in substrate, will be used

as model system. Both the functions and activity of the microorganisms of the strawberry

rhizosphere in response to chitin or biochar amendment will be characterized, and chitin or

biochar metabolizers will be identified. This information can help to elucidate how and under

which circumstances chitin or biochar amendments may increase disease resistance and plant