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Linking soil health to food quality: addressing the value of amazonian agroforestry systems under an innovative bioeconomic approach: AGROBIOFOR

Grant number: 22/13186-4
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2023 - March 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Soil Science
Convênio/Acordo: Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
Principal Investigator:Tsai Siu Mui
Grantee:Tsai Siu Mui
Principal researcher abroad: Andre Freire Cruz
Institution abroad: Kyoto Prefectural University, Japan
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Alex Virgilio ; Antonio Vargas de Oliveira Figueira ; Cassio Hamilton Abreu Junior ; Daniel Saito ; Diego Mauricio Riano Pachon ; Elisabete Aparecida de Nadai Fernandes ; Flavia Vischi Winck ; José Lavres Junior ; Junta Yanai ; Lucas William Mendes ; Márcio Arruda Bacchi ; Naoaki Ono ; Newton Paulo de Souza Falcao ; Rogério Eiji Hanada ; Severino Matias de Alencar ; Takako Nakamura ; Takuya Morimoto
Associated scholarship(s):23/08974-6 - Evaluation of agroforest connected with the Amazons soil microbiology, BP.PD


The current proposal aims to target sustainable agriculture in the Amazon biome by evaluating agroforestry systems (AFS) models by connecting soil health with fruit quality. These AFS will be compared to other systems that adopt less conservationist agricultural practices. More specifically, it aims to deeply understand the microbial diversity of Amazonian soils as well as their chemical, physical and biological characteristics and their relationship with plant mineral status and productivity, in a process called plant-soil-feedback. Soils and fruits from AFS with Cacao, Cupuassu, and Açai plants will be collected and characterized through the integration of physicochemical, biochemical, and microbiological parameters. The soil health characteristics will be monitored to understand the effects on fruit production and to investigate how new cultivars behave concerning traditional cultivars. In contrast, fruit quality will be evaluated by combining nutritional contents with the production of organic compounds, evaluated by metabolomics analysis. The population of the microbial community is quantified by metagenome analysis of the soil DNA using next generation sequencers, and the feedback between fruit nutrition and microbial diversity is estimated by statistical association analysis. Greenhouse assays will be conducted to evaluate the plant-soils-feedbacks in these AFS to test the adaptability of apple cultivars in the Amazon region. In parallel, genetic breeding programs will be carried out to develop new cultivars adaptable to grow in tropical environment. Main target is to breed new apple cultivars with sustainable fruit production in Amazon region by focusing on the genes in charge of dormancy and disease resistance. The combination of the results will generate models that value and seek to add value to the agroforestry production of the Amazonian people, generating scientific and economic subsidies for the development of sustainable local agriculture. A broader understanding of interactions with the natural microbial populations in fruit areas will bring crucial guidance for agricultural management decisions and improve the yield of high-quality fruits. This project can increase the scientific and technological understanding level of the relationship between soil health and fruit quality in Amazon agroforestry systems. The benefits generated by this study will increase the recognition of agroforestry products and the farmers, creating incentives for more sustainable agricultural models. The social potential of this proposal seeks to increase knowledge about sustainable production for the region, strengthening ties and generating benefits between the countries involved in the proposal. The results of the current project could be extended to other regions of Brazil (Atlantic Forest) and Japan (Northern Forest areas), by the application of the plant-soil-feedback model to improve the regeneration of flora (and fauna) and food production. There will be a training program for students from both Brazil and Japan, with online sections and field demonstrations led by researchers involved. (AU)

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