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The impact of beneficial microbes on root architecture and metabolism of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon grown under non optimal temperatures

Martino Schilacci

I am in Jülich Forschungszentrum as visiting student from the University of Melbourne, enrolled in a joint PhD project with IBG-2. . My project, commenced January 2017, aims to understand how soil temperature influences the growth and metabolic interactions among roots and soil bacteria and fungi that colonize roots. My hypothesis is that soil temperature influences the root physiology differently to the microbiota physiology, resulting in different plant-biotic phenotypes depending on temperature.

To test this hypothesis, I am using the grass model, Brachypodium distachyon. I will inoculate seedlings of Brachypodium with a putative beneficial bacterium or fungus in two separate sub-experiments, and grow the plants at hot or cold temperature regimes realistic to agronomic systems. The root samples will undergo phenotyping to test the relative influences of temperature on the growth and architectures of the roots, and “omics” analyses (transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomics). My project has implications for predicting the influence of present day and future, projected air temperatures on cereal crop growth with and without interaction with soil microorganisms.