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Rhizosphere microbiome of common bean and the drought tolerance mechanisms

Grant number: 21/08804-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2021
Effective date (End): April 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator:Lucas William Mendes
Grantee:Eduardo Henrique Marcandalli Boleta
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/16043-7 - Rhizosphere microbiome of the drought tolerant common bean, AP.PFPMCG.JP


The water stress is considered the biggest problem in the agricultural production in the world, since the main agricultural regions in the world are affected by drought, negatively impacting the economy and society. The genetic improvement of crops for drought tolerance has received much attention in recent years and new research is providing insights into the ability of specific soil microorganisms to influence tolerance to water stress in plants. However, in nature, plants interact simultaneously with a series of beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms, revealing the need to understand the cumulative effect of these multiple interactions and reveal the mechanisms involved in the ability of plants to overcome abiotic stresses. Recent studies have revealed that the rhizosphere microbiome plays a fundamental role in the functioning of plants, influencing their physiology and development. Although its importance for plant growth is widely known, for the vast majority of rhizosphere microorganisms there is still no information. In this context, this project seeks to evaluate the bean rhizosphere microbiome in order to identify potential microbial groups that help the plant to overcome water stress. Therefore, beans cultivars tolerant and susceptible to drought will be grown in a greenhouse under normal and water stress conditions. The evaluation of the microbial community will be done through DNA sequencing of bacteria, archaea, fungi and protists. The microbiome data will be integrated with the soil physicochemical properties, and of the physiology and genetics of plants, aiming to understand the genetic control of the host plant in the assembly of the rhizosphere microbiome during water stress. The results will be processed by bioinformatics and genetic detection tools, in order to contribute significantly to the understanding of plant-microorganism interactions, and their role in the plant's capacity to tolerate water stress, seeking to identify microbial groups and functions with potential biotechnological use. This research project will be developed based on the integrated work between the 'Soil Fertility and Mineral Plant Nutrition', 'Cellular and Molecular Biology' and 'Computational, Evolutionary and Systems Biology' laboratories, both located at CENA-USP. Therefore, the combination of modern analytical, molecular and computational methods will allow the study of the rhizospheric microbiome in association with the genetic and physiological aspects of the plant, as part of a new line of research at the Center: 'Plant-associated Microbiomes'. Considering the importance of soil microorganisms in terrestrial biogeochemical cycles, as well as in the promotion of health and plant growth, the approach of a study focused on microbial ecology is urgently needed for the development of new methods that help agricultural productivity increments, with solutions sustainable. (AU)

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