Nejc presenting on switchgrass microbiome at PAG

Dr. Nejc Stopnisek is representing ShadeLab and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the Plant and Animal Genome XXVII Conference in San Diego!

Dr. Nejc Stopnisek is representing ShadeLab and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the Plant and Animal Genome XXVII Conference in San Diego!

Talk Title:  Prioritizing core microbiome members on switchgrass to inform assembly and host-microbe interactions.

Abstract:

Perennial grasses are promising feedstocks for biofuel production. Native plant microbiome possesses an unprecedented resource of beneficial functions which can be leveraged to increase the productivity and stress resilience of these important crops. We characterize the 16S rRNA gene diversity and seasonal assembly of bacteria and archaea of two perennial cellulosic feedstocks, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus). We sampled leaves and soil every three weeks from pre-emergence through senescence for two consecutive switchgrass growing seasons and one miscanthus season and identify core leaf microbial taxa based on occupancy. Virtually all leaf taxa are also detected in soil suggesting that soil is an important reservoir of phyllosphere diversity. Core leaf taxa include early, mid, and late season groups that were consistent across years and crops. This consistency in leaf microbiome dynamics and core members is promising for microbiome manipulation or management to support crop production. We have now isolated a diverse collection of bacteria from both the phyllosphere and rhizosphere of field-grown switchgrass plants, which contains many of taxa seen in our cultivation-independent core microbiome. Ongoing whole genome sequencing of cultured isolates will provide an excellent framework to improve analysis and interpretation of field-based metatranscriptome and metagenome sequencing. Together, these multi-faceted approaches provide an exciting framework to both understand and improve the resilience of the plant microbiome, and the host plant itself.   

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