MBI Agriculture targets plant associated microbiome as a critical component of precision agriculture utilizing genomics technologies.

Microbes interact with plants in both positive and negative ways. Some are pathogens, while others promote plant growth by helping the plant acquire nutrients, inhibiting pathogens, or helping the plant to withstand stress. Many of these microbes have intimate relationships with the plant hosts, as endophytes. The ability to take advantage of beneficial plant-microbe relationships can reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides, improving the efficiency of crop production while lessening environmental impacts. Envirogenomics technologies can be used to better understand the rhizosphere and endophyte microbiomes, leading to new applications in plant-microbe interactions.

Hydroponic production systems provide unprecedented opportunity for control of the plant-associated microbiome. Using genomics and bioinformatics to provide knowledge of the microbiome in hydroponic systems, we develop solutions for the establishment and maintenance of a healthy plant microbiome that can better resist disease and stress. The result is greater productivity and reduced crop loss.