WISH-ROOTS 

Tuning the wheat root microbiome to improve soil health and optimize rhizosphere nitrogen cycling and availability

Concept

Improvement of soil health by wheat root traits,

 

Hypothesis

root morphological and functional traits in wheat landraces can preserve and improve target soil health markers. These beneficial traits, likely lost through wheat domestication, can be introduced in modern wheat cultivars and will be the base of an innovative strategy to restore and preserve agricultural soils.

Aim

To provide genetic resources and predictive models to breeders and other stakeholders for the introduction of the beneficial root traits in wheat production.

Objective

To enhance the potential beneficial effects of wheat cultivation on soil health through the identification of root traits that can improve soil structure and optimize nitrogen (N) cycling.

For this, the WISH-ROOTS project will aim to:

1) identify key traits associated with functionality of microbial and fungal guilds in the rhizosphere and root system architectural traits

2) find the genes, genomic regions or metabolic pathways in wheat that can benefit soil health

3) develop genetic tools for breeding to introduce these beneficial traits in commercial cultivars. These aims will provide advantageous varieties for farmers that support a more sustainable use of land improving soil microbial biodiversity, N cycling, and structure