The Maasheggen area is a unique cultivated landscape in the Netherlands (near Boxmeer, province Noord-Brabant) and has been designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve (https://www.maasheggenunesco.com/en/). Its mosaic of hedgerows, small arable fields and meadows make this a very interesting area to study the effects of land use and landscape elements on functional biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Forage grasses cover crops of rice and maize to steer nitrogen processes and microbiome to mitigate greenhouse gases emissions in long-term tropical agriculture systemThe aim of this research is to understand how cover crop species combined with different times of N application affect the cover crop straw, nutrition and productivity of cash crop, soil chemical properties and soil microbial composition and function in a holistic approach of the entire agricultural system under tropical no-till system. Focus is on microbiome that immediately respond to the N application disturbances and in a long period to the plant cultivation, N inputs and soil properties changes. We use 3-year field experiment with palisade grass and ruzigrass cover crops and subsequent maize cash crop combined with different N management strategies to quantify the microbial genes of the N cycle and the bacterial and fungal communities’ structure and composition in the agricultural system.
Long-term Ca-based amendments impact on microbiome and N processes in the rhizosphere and soil in tropical no-till intercropping systemUnsustainable agricultural management practices such as non-conservationist tillage and overuse of fertilizers result in soil acidity and, in turn, soil degradation due to reduced carbon (C) concentrations and nutrient availability and increased aluminum toxicity. Application of lime (L) and phosphogypsum (PG) can overcome these constraints and improve soil quality, but the long-term effects of these amendments on both abiotic and biotic soil properties are not known, particularly when applied in combination. Here, we evaluate the effects of L (acidity corrective), PG (soil conditioner), and their combination (LPG) on soil organic matter (SOM) transformations, soil chemical and physical properties, microbiome assembly, N uptake by intercropped plants, maize yield, archaeal and bacterial abundances, and N cycle genes in the maize and ruzigrass rhizospheres in a long-term field experiment in tropical soil with a no-till maize and forage ruzigrass intercropping system.
Land degradation usually leads to a reduction in soil fertility, decline of plant productivity, and loss of biodiversity. Introducing beneficial microbial inoculants to degraded lands represents a promising and sustainable strategy. The aim of this project is to reveal the ecological roles of microbial inoculants and soil-resident microbial community in restoring both belowground biodiversity and aboveground productivity in the degraded land.
Plant-growth promoting microbes (PGPM) are a viable alternative to traditional fertilizers for enhancing plant productivity and improving soil quality without environmental pollution. The use of PGPM in agriculture has been hampered by a lack of reproducible results and the difficulty of transferring this technology to the field. This inconsistent success primarily reflects competition or resistance of the original soil microbiome to inoculants, as well as the negative effects of management practices such as fertilization on plant interactions with the soil microbiome and the efficiency of ecosystem services delivered by PGPM. We were the first to circumvent this problem under field conditions by manipulating the soil microbiome to successfully obtain consistent, positive effects of inoculated microbes on plant productivity (Cipriano et al., 2016;https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiw197). However, the influence of the indigenous soil microbiome on plants remains largely unknown. We propose to investigate this tripartite, PGPM-plant-soil microbiome interaction in plant quality and productivity using state-of-the-art ‘omics’ and bioinformatics approaches to investigate facilitation (positive interactions) and competition (negative interactions) by both microbes and PGPM within the plant realized niche following gradients of both soil diversity and nutrient availability. This research will facilitate the development of innovative methods for agricultural and horticultural starting material production using PGPM for sustainable crop production by combining techniques to reduce nutrient input and enhance the efficiency and long-lasting effects of PGPM. This research proposal will integrate approaches to obtain a fundamental understanding of these tripartite interactions in a smart microbiome engineered plant production system for sustainable high-quality crop production.
Linking Ecology, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics in plant epigenetic research
A key challenge for sustainable intensification of agriculture is to produce increasing amounts of food for a growing world population, with minimal loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. In order to facilitate ecological intensification of agriculture, the underlying principles need to be understood and validated in farmers’ fields
Climate is warming faster in the Arctic than elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. As a result, migratory Arctic-nesting birds may arrive too late to benefit...
Zooplankton is a crucial component of aquatic food webs
Living Lab B7 — Met Boeren, Bewoners, Bezoekers en Beleidsmakers werken aan een Betere Biodiversiteit in de BollenstreekLiving Lab B7 — Met Boeren, Bewoners, Bezoekers en Beleidsmakers werken aan een Betere Biodiversiteit in de Bollenstreek