Our project aims to understand and control the microscopic organisms that live on plant roots to support sustainable bioenergy.
The m-CAFEs SFA (Microbial Community Analysis & Functional Evaluation in Soils Scientific Focus Area) is a multi-institutional project that will develop sufficient mechanistic and spatio-temporal understanding of plant and microbial interactions within grass rhizosphere communities to enable accurate prediction of community responses to important perturbations.
We use ‘bottom-up’ defined microbial assemblies that enable detailed characterization of both constituent isolates and synthetic communities. This approach is complemented by the development of novel, “top-down” in situ technologies to investigate diverse communities that include uncultivated microbes. These studies will inform the development of predictive models that are iteratively refined through integrated simulations and experimentation.
The understanding gained and approaches pioneered will help advance microbiome research towards a more predictive and causative science, and lay a critical foundation for harnessing beneficial microbiomes to support sustainable bioenergy and improving our understanding of nutrient cycling in the rhizosphere.