In flanders, lettuce farmers create a yearly turnover of 37 million euro, making it the regions
second most grown vegetable. Lettuce growth is optimal at temperatures ranging between 20°C
and 25°C, making it possible for farmers to grow it up to a consumable size in six weeks during
spring and summer. During the winter time on the other hand, this process takes up to four
months. A promising discipline to promote plant growth under stress conditions is the use of plant
growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). These are bacteria that live on and inside the plant's roots
and that often interact intimately with their host, by providing it with nutrients or protecting it
against disease. In this project we want to isolate these PGPR out of the lettuce root and evaluate
them for their plant growth promoting potential by adding and overdose of them to the plants.
Growth promoting strains will be combined into a consortium to obtain more robust and effective
results. In addition, we want to know which plant associated molecular pathways are triggered by
these bacteria to promote the plant's growth. The above mentioned experiments will provide us
with insights into which bacteria live inside lettuce roots, which of these bacteria can promote
lettuce growth and how they influence the plant's molecular pathways to do so. This project will
significantly aid lettuce farmers living in temperate climate areas by increasing the crop's turnover
rate during the cold season.