Université de Montréal
Supervisor: Mohamed Hijri
Supervisor: Mohamed Hijri
ProjectDetermining the effects of PGPRs on plant growth and tolerence against abiotic stress
Bioinoculants using Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria (PGPR)s and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) are growing in importance as the agricultural sector is under increasing pressure to boost production while also mitigating the harmful effects of chemical fertiliser usage. Besides increasing crop yields through numerous activities ranging from nutrient cycling to regulating root architecture and plant immune defenses, PGPRs have been found to detoxify harmful elements, regulate the plant stress response, and protect against abiotic stresses (such as heat, cold, drought and elevated salt in the soil). These stresses are some of the greatest limiting factors to crop productivity. However, development of bioinoculants with any impact on plant stress rely on the chance discovery of performing strains from the sampling of microbial communities, whose performance remains inconsistent between fields and cultivars. Methods used to verify the effects of microbes on plant yield are also subjected to a lengthy plant life cycle. Directed evolution is a powerful method to be able to develop bioinoculants which can perform in select conditions with a chosen plant- however, a mode of selection based purely on bacterial survival would neglect to test for its plant association and growth promoting effects. To develop an efficient method to perform directed evolution on PGPRs, we plan to colonize lab-grown plants with PGPRs and expose them to abiotic stress. RT-qPCR of plant stress response genes would then be used to select PGPRs for each round of evolution. If successful, this method could provide a faster and more efficient way to 'train' superior bioinoculants for any agricultural setting. In addition to this, we aim to better understand soil microbial consortia by characterizing and determining the mutualistic or antagonistic interactions between members of a microbial (AMF and PGPR) consortium. This will be done through various PGPR activity tests, a compatibility test, and full-genome analysis with metabolic pathway analysis. With our greenhouse experiment, we are testing how different combinations of the consortium members impact tomato yield.
Keywordssoil microorganisms, agriculture, consortium, Mycorhizes, pgpr, bioinoculants, plant stress, directed evolution
Publications1- A fucosyltransferase inhibition assay using image-analysis and digital microfluidics
Leclerc, Laura M. Y., Guy Soffer, David H. Kwan, Steve C. C. Shih