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This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: Agroscope; BBZ Arenenberg; Mycorrhizal Applications SA
Project no: GRS-088/20
Amount of funding: CHF 285'000
Duration: 03.2021 - 02.2024
Area of activity:
Microbials, seit 2016
Prof. Dr. Marcel van der Heijden
Agroecology and Environment
8046 Zürich (Schweiz)
- marcel.vanderheijden@agroscope. admin. ch
In the face of enormous global challenges, the sustainability of agricultural production needs to be enhanced and fertiliser and pesticide use be reduced. A range of studies have shown that micro-organisms in soil can have a big impact on plant health and thus can contribute to sustainable agricultural production. However, how to employ soil microbial communities in a targeted way to provide agricultural benefits it is still poorly understood. This project aims at engineering, testing and applying new and innovative microbial consortia for enhanced sustainability of cropping systems.
What is special about the project?
This project uses new scientific concepts, such as keystone-taxa theory, communities of microorganisms complementing each other for maximum effects on ecosystem functioning, to design microbial consortia. Strategies for implementing the benefits of these consortia into agricultural practice will be developed in a participatory approach together with farmers and commercial producers of biological inoculants. Therefore, this project represents a unique combination of latest scientific research developments and agricultural application, directly linking basic research with practice.
This project aims to at developing reliable microbial inoculants that contribute to crop production and reduce the need for fertilizer and pesticide applications. An application strategy will be developed that allows to integrate the benefits of keystone microbial taxa and beneficials into management operations of farmers in a convenient and cost-efficient way. This will be acheved by involving farmers and biotechinological companies in the development process.
Bender, S. Franz, Cameron Wagg, and Marcel GA van der Heijden. «An underground revolution: biodiversity and soil ecological engineering for agricultural sustainability.» Trends in ecology & evolution 31, no. 6 (2016): 440-452;
Banerjee, Samiran, Klaus Schlaeppi, and Marcel GA van der Heijden. «Keystone taxa as drivers of microbiome structure and functioning.» Nature Reviews Microbiology 16, no. 9 (2018): 567-576;
Bender, S. Franz, Klaus Schlaeppi, Alain Held, and Marcel GA Van der Heijden. «Establishment success and crop growth effects of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus inoculated into Swiss corn fields.» Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 273 (2019): 13-24;
Wagg,C, K Schlaeppi, S Banerjee, E E Kuramae, M G A van der Heijden. «Fungal-bacterial diversity and microbiome complexity predict ecosystem functioning.» Nature Communications, 2019, 10(1): 4841.
None so far
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 06.04.2021