Research – University of Copenhagen

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Societal challenges addressed in BestPass

Global food production is facing a number of major challenges over the coming century. The global population is growing and becoming increasingly urban and sophisticated in their diet. The climate is changing and becoming more unpredictable. To meet these and other challenges we need to increase crop yields while reducing pesticide input and use of inorganic fertiliser. Plant endophytic microorganisms can contribute to these goals by improving plant yield and enhancing plant tolerance to abiotic stress as well as to pathogens under experimental conditions, but these effects are often not sufficiently stable for practical application.

The effects of endophytes on plants

We need to understand the genetic basis of beneficial interactions between crops and endophytes and extend this basic knowledge of phenotypic plasticity to all interaction levels from the cellular to the field environment. This requires research into the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of endophytes, including intra and inter-kingdom exchange and distribution of resources (nutrients). The genetic variation and its plasticity in host and microbe will be exploited in order to establish crop breeding and inoculum production processes for boosting the establishment and stability of plant-microbe mutualisms to benefit crop development, stress tolerance, pathogen resistance and quality.

BestPass has four scientific work packages. For more information about the individual work packages tap on the boxes to the right.

Overall objectives:

  • To understand the genetic and mechanistic basis of plant – endophyte interactions.
  • To assess these interactions for improving plant yield and quality under abiotic and biotic stress conditions.
  • To boost the stability and reliability of the beneficial effects of endophytes or endophyte consortia on plants.
  • To provide the best possible training to support the career development of the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the field of beneficial plant microbe interactions.