Overall project objective. We will establish a foundational, systems-level understanding of plant, microbial, and environmental interactions that will lead to translational strategies to enhance growth and sustainability of sorghum through improved genetic and microbial adaptations to water and nutrient limited environments.
- Conduct deep census surveys of root microbiomes concurrent with phenotypic characterizations of a diverse panel of sorghum genotypes across multiple years to define the microbes associated with the most productive lines under drought and low nitrogen conditions.
- Associate systems-level genotypic, microbial, and environmental effects with improved sorghum performance using robust statistical approaches.
- Develop culture collections of sorghum root/leaf associated microbes that recapitulate root-enriched sequences defined in the census.
- Perform controlled environment experiments for in-depth characterization and hypothesis testing of Gsorghum x Gmicrobe x E interactions.
- Validate physiological mechanisms, map genetic loci for stress tolerance, and determine the persistence of optimal microbial strains under greenhouse and field conditions.