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EXPERTS WORKSHOP ON PLANT MICROBIOMES RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

Kinkel, L., P. Arruda, P. Brigidi, J. Imperial, P. Cotter, J. D. van Elsas, B. Singh, D. Bulgarelli, V. Sundaresan, V. Venturi and W. Chen (2016). EXPERTS WORKSHOP ON PLANT MICROBIOMES RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (Brussels, Belgium 22 February 2016). R. a. I. D. European Commission. Brussels, Belgium 22 February 2016: 15.

Abstract

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Global food and fiber needs are expected to double in the coming decades, while climate change, unsustainable agrichemical use, and limited arable lands represent growing threats to production capacities. Existing approaches for agricultural crop management are inadequate for sustainable provision of projected global needs. However, recent advances in the study of plant microbiomes highlight their considerable role in determining plant health, nutritional quality, stress tolerance, growth dynamics, and yield, as well as soil health. Focused investments in plant microbiome research and translation are needed to support development of novel and effective microbiome-targeted approaches for increasing sustainable agricultural production and human health. This report presents the findings of the February, 2016 EU Workshop on Plant Microbiome Research and Innovation, including identification of key opportunities and potential, existing bottlenecks and needs, and prospects for priority actions. The Workshop gathered world-wide experts representing major microbiome research and innovation programmes world-wide. The expert panel identified key opportunities for plant microbiome research in EU and in the world, including increased agriculture productivity, increased food quality, sustainable intensification of agriculture, climate change mitigation, creation of new industrial sectors and improved soil health and restoration. To realise these opportunities, the Expert Panel recommended the following steps. 1. Identify microbiome `best practices’ and standards to support the development of an open-access plant microbiome database. 2. Create international working groups to focus research and translation efforts on key global food, bioenergy, or model plant species. 3. Develop coordinated international funding programs to support establishment of international network and working groups. 4. Improve communication with policymakers, funding agencies, farmers, and the general public. 5. Link research on the plant microbiome with work on human, animal, and environmental (soil, water, marine) microbiomes. The recommendations presented here provide a roadmap for building the plant microbiome knowledge, infrastructure, and education foundation needed to create more sustainable and productive agricultural systems, and more healthy foods, based on enhanced understanding and active management of plant microbiomes, through a global research and innovation effort.

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