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Isolation and characterization of microorganisms associated with plants adapted to limiting nutritional conditions

Grant number: 21/04953-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2021
Effective date (End): March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Paulo Arruda
Grantee:Mariana Ramos Leandro
Host Institution: Centro de Biologia Molecular e Engenharia Genética (CBMEG). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Host Company:Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Centro de Biologia Molecular e Engenharia Genética (CBMEG)
Associated research grant:16/23218-0 - The Genomics for Climate Change Research Center, AP.PCPE


Climate change directly impacts the sustainable development of agriculture, as challenging environmental conditions put global agricultural production at risk and demand a great use of natural resources, fertilizers and pesticides. Thus, it is imperative to develop technologies that assist in maintaining agricultural production even in unfavorable environmental conditions. Studies have shown that microorganisms associated with plants have great potential to mitigate negative effects of stressful conditions. Naturally stressful ecosystems are rich sources of beneficial microorganisms that play a vital role in increasing the tolerance of plants to such conditions. This is the case of campos rupestres, a semi-arid Brazilian ecosystem marked by prolonged seasonal droughts, high solar radiation and daily temperature fluctuations. Despite being a biodiversity hotspot, few studies have explored the taxonomic and functional diversity of microorganisms in this environment. In this sense, this project aims to build and characterize a collection of microorganisms associated with plant species of the genus Vellozia, native to this ecosystem, as well as to evaluate its contribution to the promotion of the development of model-plants in stressful conditions. For this, samples of soil and roots of Vellozia plant species from the Serra da Canastra National Park will be collected and, based on these, a Community-Based Culture collection (CBC) representative of the microbiome associated with the plants will be constructed. After, bioinformatics pipelines will be built for the identification of stored microorganisms and that allow the cross-referencing of data between the microbial profile associated with the species of Vellozia with the data from the collection of microorganisms. Based on the results of the cross-referencing, microorganisms isolated by CBC methodology that potentially have relevant mechanisms related to plant growth promotion will be selected for inoculation assays under abiotic stress conditions. To investiage the molecular mechanisms regulated during plant-microorganisms association, the colonization pattern, and the microbial contribution to plant host development under stressful conditions, physiological, molecular and microscopical analysis will be performed. The generated data will allow the determination of the microbial profile associated to Vellozia species, contributing to the formulation of new inoculants with emphasis in the improvement and the sustainability of agricultural productivity under challenging conditions. (AU)

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