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Purdue University’s College of Agriculture joins the International Phytobiomes Alliance

Purdue University’s College of Agriculture has joined the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research as a sponsoring partner.

The Phytobiomes Alliance facilitates and coordinates national and international research projects on phytobiomes to accelerate the sustainable production of food, feed, and fiber for all. The term “Phytobiome” refers to a plant (phyto) growing in a specific environment (biome). Phytobiomes research is a system-level approach studying the complex interactions between plants, microorganisms, soils, climate, environment, and management practices.

Purdue University’s College of Agriculture is a global leader in agricultural and biological engineering, food systems, and natural resource sciences. The college is home to the Purdue Applied Microbiome Sciences (PAMS) group, whose collaborative research on microbial systems addresses topics ranging from human health, ecosystem productivity and stewardship, and new microbiome biotechnologies.

“We are very pleased to welcome Purdue College of Agriculture to the Phytobiomes Alliance,” said Trevor Charles, Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and Phytobiomes Alliance Board member. “Their expertise in plant microbiome, environmental microbiology, and controlled environment horticulture would be a valuable addition to the Alliance. We are particularly thrilled to have them play an active role in our Controlled Environment Agriculture Working Group.”

Roland Wilhelm, Assistant Professor of Agronomy in Soil Microbiome, will be joining the Alliance Coordinating Committee. This Committee identifies research, resource, and technology gaps, establishes priorities, and develops strategic plans to achieve Alliance goals. Wilhelm will also join the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Working Group, that is tasked with identifying major CEA challenges and opportunities that could be addressed by phytobiomes research.

Laramy Enders, Associate Professor in Entomology, will join the Microbiome Working Group that focuses on identifying knowledge and resource gaps that need to be addressed to advance understanding of the role that microbes play within the broad phytobiome systems and how this can be used to improve agricultural sustainability.

“Purdue University is investing in the next generation of agricultural production systems, bringing our world-class expertise in agricultural sciences and engineering to solve the challenges of sustainability and food security,” said Wilhelm. “Working with the Phytobiomes Alliance supports our efforts to understand the complex interactions between plants, microbes, and the environment in order to improve crops and build better indoor and urban cultivation systems. Purdue Applied Microbiome Sciences is home to diverse faculty research programs studying the role of phytobiomes in soils, insects, controlled environments, and human health. Our partnership with the Phytobiomes Alliance provides a platform to share our latest research and to harvest the latest insights.”

Over the next decades, understanding entire systems of phytobiomes will be critical to ensuring sustainable global food security in the context of population growth, climate change, and the necessity to preserve biodiversity and natural resources while maintaining or enhancing grower profitability. The Phytobiomes Alliance is working on addressing these challenges by establishing a foundation of knowledge on how phytobiome components interact and affect each other.

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