Antibiotic discovery in the wheat rhizosphere

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate School


This project is focussed on the interactions between common bread wheat Triticum aestivum, which provides fundamental nutrition to much of the world's population, and antibiotic-producing Streptomyces bacteria. Streptomyces species make 50% of all known antibiotics but most of the antibiotics they encode are not made under laboratory growth conditions, and we suspect this is because their production is switched on by host or environmental signals which we have not yet identified, including plant root exudates. Plants exude up to 40% of their fixed carbon through their roots and these root exudates attract bacteria and thus help the plants assemble a beneficial microbiome that boosts the plant immune system, protects against disease and helps the plants access nutrients from the soil. These beneficial bacteria include Streptomyces species and we have shown that some Streptomyces strains can protect wheat plants against the Take-all fungus which is the most commercially important disease of wheat worldwide. Some of these strains also boost the growth of wheat plants by providing nutrients and making plant growth hormones.
The project is focused on identifying the best strains for promoting wheat growth and protecting against Take-all from a library of strains isolated from wheat roots.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/T008717/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2028
2444045 Studentship BB/T008717/1 01/10/2020 07/03/2026 Bethany Alexandra Sherman