The report summarises the current status, goals and next steps in plants and microbiomes research. It serves the science community to further advance the field and improve collaboration. It provides recommendations as science advice to policy to the European Commission and national research and innovation funders.

There are major national initiatives going on, reported were those from Germany (by Paul Schulze-Lefert), Denmark (by Mette Haubjerg Nicolaisen) and the Netherlands (by Harro Bouwmeester). These need to be better linked and complemented by Europe-wide initiatives under Horizon Europe, for example by calls in cluster 6 and openings to be created in the Biodiversity partnership and the Soil Mission.

Recommendations focus on the following issues:

  • Diverse crops with diverse microbiomes for diverse diets for human and animal health and resilient production systems
  • Moving from correlation to causation under lab, greenhouse and field conditions
  • More understanding on the complexity of the ecosystem-plant-microbiome system is needed
  • Plant mechanisms to attract / interact with microbiota require understanding
  • Precompetitive research should address the identification of microbiome-based plant health and resilience indicators and microbiome understanding needed by the industry
  • European infrastructure recommended for plant microbiome research
  • Open access databases integrating (plant) microbiome and meta-data are required

Detailed information from the break-out discussion groups, the workshop programme and the list of participants are available in the Annex to the report.

The group agreed on specific actions regarding infrastructure and databases for the coming months. The Working Group will meet again online end January 2022 to discuss their progress on these as well as hearing highlights from (multi-)national plants and microbiomes research and innovation.

Contact us to get involved in the coming months
Angela Sessitsch, Paul Schulze-Lefert, Corné Pieterse and Karin Metzlaff

Click here to read:  The workshop report and the Annex report, 1.9.2021

Angela Sessitsch, Paul Schulze-Lefert, Corné Pieterse and Karin Metzlaff