Dr Richard Allen White III, a postdoctoral Fellow at Washington State University, visited FABI where he presented a workshop on metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses during the week of 22-26 October.
During his visit, Richard presented a special seminar in FABI entitled “The soil microbiome: A vital ecosystem in transition revealed by multiomics”. Richard stated that we live on a microbial planet with more than 10 bacterial cells and 10 viruses, with soil having the most complex bacterial and viral ecosystems. With regards to the interaction between plant and microbes, the rhizosphere is a microbial hotspot.
Understanding the plant-soil-rhizosphere interaction is critical for crop development and based on this we can improve plant production and yield without the need for pesticides and fertilizers. Richard uses a combination of molecular tools such as metagenomics, metatransciptomics, metaproteomics, metametabolomics to study the diversity and interaction of the soil microbiome.
He is also interested in the system biology where we can create and engineer microbes and viruses for desired purposes. He envisions that the future of commercial farming is to only add microbes to the soil to promote plant health and improve yield.