potatoMETAbiome - Harnessing the potato-microbiome interactions for development of sustainable breeding and production strategies

Project: Research project

Description

PotatoMETAbiome will contribute to the development of sustainable forms of potato cropping, currently relying largely on high inputs of fertilizers, pesticides and water, by making use of the power and functional traits provided by the soil microbiome and improved plant – microbe interactions.
In order to achieve sustainable potato cropping, it is necessary to treat plants as metaorganism: holobionts with its associated microbiome.
We will therefore identify major plant genes that trigger the interaction with the soil microbiome and study their activation using a large number of potato lines with different susceptability levels towards (a)biotic stress. Further, we will assess key microbial strains that enhance potato stress response and nutrient aquisition.
The obtained results will be implemented into field trials to test their relevance under real conditions. The evaluation of socio-economic and environmental impacts of the developed strategies, including the potato genotypes selected for their optimal plant-microbiome interactions, and participation of stakeholders during the project will ensure the dissemination and implementation of the strategies, supporting the
development of sustainable potato cropping across the major European countries.
Such an approach will have major implications for future breeding strategies and improve the resistance of potato to environmental challenges associated with climate change. Specifically, the development of plants with optimal soil exploration (improved root biomass) and microbiome acquisition will alleviate the impact of abiotic stresses such as drought as well as biotic stresses caused by pathogens.
These characteristics will also improve resource-use efficiency of the plant through interactions with beneficial microbes. This increase in potato resilience will lead to a decline in the use of fertilizers and pesticides, thus reducing the environmental footprint of potato farmers and improving the health of consumers.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/03/1928/02/22