|Development and Application of Novel Biotechnology Approaches for Vegetables|
Currently, agriculture encounters great challenges imposed by a changing environment and the radical transformations compared to the traditional production systems to allow its viability and its transition to more sustainable systems. A promising biotechnological approach that effectively addresses these challenges is to harness the microorganisms that thrive in the rhizosphere (root microbiome). The microbiome may exert strong effects on crop growth and productivity and the response of crops to (a)biotic factors and has the potential to improve the resilience of agricultural systems and to restrict the adverse effects of agriculture to the environment by reducing inputs (water, nutrients, biocides). Hence, there is a growing interest in the development of crop “probiotics” in agreement with the trend in the human microbiome. The principal goal of the proposal is to increase crop productivity and to improve the sustainability of agricultural systems by increasing our current state-of-art knowledge of the crop microbiome and translating it into innovative tools of agricultural systems management (practical applications, updated production processes, and commercial products). More specifically, the proposal investigates the development of a methodological framework that allows the identification, isolation, and culture of “key” microorganisms in the microbiome favoring the growth of crops under stressful conditions (nutrient availability) and protecting them against diseases as well as the development of crop management practices that allow us to “engineer” root microbiome. To successfully meet the interdisciplinary and cross-sectional goals of the proposal we have organized an appropriate consortium that emphasizes the active role of SMEs.
The project is coordinated by Panagiotis Moschou (IMBB) in collaboration with Nikolaos Paranychianakis (TUC) and Nektarios Kavroulakis (ELGO).