Using beneficial microbes to mitigate the effects of climate change on plant nutrition, resistance to insects, and drought
Cara Haney, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Michael Smith Laboratories
Juli Carrillo, Assistant Professor, Plant-Insect Ecology Evolution Lab, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Weston Seeding Food Innovation
About the Project
Climate change has major present-day and anticipated consequences for Canadian and global food security. Increasing CO2 levels can lead to decreased plant nutritional quality and can exacerbate insect pests on crops. Belowground, plant roots associate with complex communities of microbes that can promote growth and protect plants from insect pests. Individual microbes can positively affect plant traits that are negatively impacted by climate change including plant pest resistance, food quality, and drought tolerance.
This project will test whether beneficial microbes can directly mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change on plant nutrition as well as resistance to insects and drought. Preliminary data indicate that specific microbes can modulate the same pathways and processes that are negatively impacted by climate change. This work will lay a foundation to implement microbes in field and greenhouse production to improve food security in Canada and around the globe.