Bioprospecting and Characterization of Microbial Communities
Collaboration with Dr. James Borneman from the University of California at Riverside
Funded by 2018 UC MEXUS-CONACYT Collaborative Grants Program
Participants: UCR - James Borneman, Beth Peacock CICESE - Edgardo Sepúlveda, Jimena Rábago
The use of naturally occurring microorganisms that can efficiently control pathogens represents a promising approach for the control of plant diseases. Although several microorganisms with these characteristics have been isolated invitro, the majority fail when tested in the field. In nature, there are soils in which microorganisms protect plants against infections by suppressing pathogens. This occurs due to the concerted activities of organisms with different mechanisms of disease suppression. With the help of regional producers, we will identify suppressive soils associated to the farming industry in the municipality of Ensenada and characterize the microbial communities that colonize the rhizosphere and roots of plants growing in them using high-throughput sequencing of the rRNA internal transcribed spacer region. This will allow us to analyze the structure and diversity of these communities in the context of soil properties, the pathogen, and the levels of suppression. Finally, we will isolate and characterize bacterial strains identified as critical for the suppressing properties of soil. Our work will not only help in understanding the ecological mechanisms interacting in suppressive soils but will aid in the development of biological control tools, tailored to the specific necessities of producers and the environmental characteristics of the region.