The Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research joined the the Phytobiomes Alliance today in an effort to support sustainable agriculture. The Phytobiomes Alliance is an industry-academic collaborative effort focused on accelerating the sustainable production of food. The WCMR is currently being represented by its director, Trevor Charles. He is currently working on several phytobiome-related projects including the Glyphosate Degradation project and Harnessing the Microbiome for Superior Performance in Controlled Environment Agriculture project.
The glyphosate degradation project involves the determination of soil bacteria that degrade glyphosate- an herbicidal agent-, how these microbes degrade this herbicidal formulation as well as analysis and characterization of novel glyphosate degradation pathways.
The Harnessing the Microbiome for Superior Performance in Controlled Environment Agriculture project involves the possible use of hydroponic vegetable production for microbiome optimization. Here, DNA sequence-based analysis is used to improve the detection of beneficial microbes. Inoculants from rhizospheric and endophytic strains of certain bacteria are developed for seed treatment and application through fertigation systems.