We study the contribution of the root microbiota to plant performance. To do so, we have isolated bacterial strains, which are naturally associated with Arabidopsis plants, and in a reductionist approach, we re-assembled these strains into synthetic communities (SynComs). We use axenic microcosms and controlled conditions to study plant - SynCom interactions.
Our key discovery is that a SynCom provides a reproducible growth advantage to the plants in our gnotobiotic system (see below picture). We are now performing investigations to understand the physiological and molecular mechanisms involving the microbiome for plant growth promotion.
Bacterial microbiota promotes plant growth in microcosms
Arabidopsis plants were grown for 6 weeks in microcosms in the presence (right) or absence (left) of a bacterial SynCom.