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CABBI Researchers Chart Oilcane Microbiome
Wednesday, 2023/05/31 | 07:49:17

Figure: Oilcane is a key player in biofuel production. Understanding its interactions with microbes may help researchers develop management practices that will improve the crop’s resilience and productivity.

Photo Source: CABBI.


In a groundbreaking research collaboration, scientists at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) have identified the types of microbes that associate with engineered oilcane. Exploring the oilcane microbiome may reveal opportunities for plant-microbial interactions in these feedstocks and also increase oil yields for sustainable bioenergy production.


Microbiome management allows crop improvement, and understanding the interactions between plants and microorganisms helps scientists develop agricultural management practices that can increase crop productivity and resilience. While the sugarcane microbiome has been studied, the oilcane microbiome has not been explored yet. In a collaboration between CABBI's Sustainability and Feedstock Production themes, researchers explored the differences in microbiome structure between several oilcane accessions and wild-type sugarcane.


The researchers planted each of these engineered oilcanes and sugarcane in the same soil. From the grown plants, they sampled the microbes of the leaves, stems, roots, rhizosphere soils, and bulk soil. Using cutting-edge sequencing and bioinformatics tools, the team found that each accession of oilcane had different microbiomes than the non-modified sugarcane. The research team reports that the greatest differences in microbiome composition were observed in the oilcane accession that most highly expressed the WRI1 transgene, also known as the “master-regulator” of lipid biosynthesis, and contributes significant changes in the gene expression profile.


The researchers also suggest that the oilcane's association with specific soil microbes may benefit the plant in some way, as is often the case in other plants. The team hopes to conduct further research to understand how microbiomes unique to certain oilcane types interact with their host plants.


For more details, read the news article on the CABBI website.


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