Investigating the nutrient-exometabolome-rhizobiome interactions in plants
The effective use of natural resources will require the growth of bioenergy crops on marginal soils with minimal input of synthetic N fertilizers. Experimental evidence suggests that root exudation plays an important role in recruiting beneficial soil microbiome. However, the full role of exometabolites in mechanisms of plant-microbe interaction and N cycling in the rhizosphere remains cryptic. To gains insight into these dynamic processes, I use the combination of stable isotope techniques, metabolomics, and model grasses grown in fabricated plant ecosystems (EcoFAB). Mechanistic understanding of grass-microbe interactions will allow the building of predictive models, which will lead to the identification of new breeding targets and microbial amendment strategies for improved plant nitrogen use efficiency.