Rothamsted Research, UK

Tim Mauchline is based at Rothamsted Research in the UK where he leads the plant microbiome research group. He is interested in understanding the role of the plant microbiome in promoting plant growth as well as plant protection. He has spent his entire research career studying microbial interactions in the plant root environment. He is interested in the ecology of microbial communities in cropping systems, especially the process of microbial niche occupation in plants (including the rhizosphere and endosphere), from the seed as well as the bulk soil microbial reservoir. The aim is to understand the function and potential of plant-associated microbes for nutrient cycling, plant stress tolerance and disease suppression. His ultimate goal is to maximise the contribution of microbes for the development of sustainable agricultural systems.

Talk: Rooting around the wheat microbiome
Outline: The root microbiome is recruited by plants and influences plant growth, health and resource use efficiency. These microorganisms can benefit crop plants in several ways including improved plant nutritional status as well as protection against biotic and abiotic stresses. There are various factors which determine the crop microbiome community structure and understanding how agricultural practices influence the microbiome structure is imperative for the development of sustainable agricultural systems. This talk explores our work into the relative importance of several factors that shape the wheat root microbiome namely: land use conversion at the Rothamsted Highfield experiment, wheat genotype in reference to contrasting plant height, fertilisation regime at the Rothamsted Broadbalk experiment as well as the interaction of seed microbial load and land use in determining microbiome structure.

Session 2: Integrating Phytobiome Systems-based Knowledge
Wednesday 5 December