The Project

Intensive agricultural production increases the risk of crop losses through accumulation of plant pathogens in soils. The ability of soils or their microbiomes to suppress plant pathogens is a characteristic of soil health.

For the development of a sustainable crop production a better understanding of how agricultural management practices affect soil microbiomes and soil suppressiveness of plant pathogens is required.

Experiment with lettuce
in the climate chamber

Aims of DiControl:

  • Study of the influence of intensive and extensive long-term agricultural management strategies on the structure and function of soil and associated rhizosphere microbiomes
  • Investigation of soil and plant characteristics (e.g. root exudation profiles, plant health, productivity) and their influence on soil microbiomes
  • Characterization of the complex bacterial as well as fungal community structures and functions using state-of-the-art molecular approaches
  • Determination of suppressiveness of soils towards soil-borne pathogens under intensive and extensive agricultural management histories
  • Development of management strategies that support microbial taxa and functions responsible for the suppression of pathogens
  • Assessment of conflict of interests in the application of new sustainable practices by socio-economic analysis in order to support public acceptance
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