NATURE: A gnotobiotic-based approach to unravel the role of the plant microbiome and develop synthetic communities increasing plant growth and stress tolerance.

Despite the overwhelming amount of recent advanced studies, the current knowledge of the plant microbiome is far from being complete. Unravelling the complexity of the microbial systems within the same host and their interactions with external factors represents a major challenge. The current project aims at the production and use of gnotobiotic plants and innovative smart boxes to screen and exploit the microbial diversity present in natural ecosystems in the optic to improve plant growth and tolerance to diseases and abiotic factors. The proposed smart boxes will be developed to include a variety of state-of-the-art sensors to monitor, in real-time, the impact of microorganisms on plants. In addition, they will enable the screening, selection, and evaluation of potentially useful microorganisms. The project is highly interdisciplinary since based on multiple scientific fields represented in the project consortium by advanced skills in microbiology, plant pathology, molecular biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, microbial ecology, statistics, plant physiology, biosensors, microfluidics and engineering. Interdisciplinarity is further emphasized by the use of cutting-edge techniques, such as metagenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, high throughput sequencing, and big-data analysis.

Dipartimento di Agraria dell’Università “Mediterranea” di Reggio Calabria.
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari dell’Università di Torino (DISAFA).
Dipartimento di Scienze per gli Alimenti, la Nutrizione e l’Ambiente dell’Università di Milano.
Dipartimento Scienza Applicata e Tecnologia del Politecnico di Torino.

Research staff

Research activity

  • Production defense and biosafety