It has already been shown that single stresses can influence the interaction of the host plant with its microbial colonizers. A basic understanding of how the more realistic plant confrontation with multiple stresses can influence the community composition and the functioning of endophytic microbes inside the plant roots is, however, lacking.
In this project, tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum) will be infected with the pathogenic fungus Verticilium dahliae and, at the same time, be confronted with salt stress affects. It will be evaluated how multiple biotic and abiotic stresses influence community assembly, species composition and linked functions of bacterial and fungal root colonizers. In the second step, this information will be used in order to successfully apply beneficial, microbial taxa to crops that are faced with multiple stresses.
The project is financed through an “ICAR International Fellowship 2014-15”, awarded to Sneha Gulati.