“The Soil-Borne Legacy and drought stress”
Zaan, Koen van der
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Drought negatively affects crop health and yield and is expected to increase in abundance and duration in the future. Over the last decades, however, countless beneficial microbes have been described that can mitigate the effect of drought stress on plants, providing the plant with an increased tolerance. The assemblage of these beneficial microbes is largely unknown. The aim of this proposed research is to investigate the drought-induced promotion of microbes mitigating drought stress in the Arabidopsis thaliana rhizosphere and endosphere in natural soils. First, new experimental methods will be optimized for examining plant-induced microbiome composition changes under drought stress, bypassing the direct effects of drought on the soil community. Then, the change in microbiome composition is visualized and metabolite fingerprinting is performed in search of the molecular signal promoting specific microbes. Finally, the long-term effect covering several generations called the soil-borne legacy, is examined. The newly gathered knowledge will help future research and crop cultivation in terms of drought tolerance and beneficial microbe selection.