Project properties

Title Do plant root exudates shape the functional diversity of microbial communities?
Group Soil Biology
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) Gabriel Moinet, Marie Zwetsloot
Examiner(s) prof.dr. Rachel Creamer
Contact info gabriel.moinet@wur.nl ; marie.zwetsloot@wur.nl
Begin date 2020/01/01
End date
Description Plant roots release a tremendous diversity of root exudates into soil. While previous research has shown that root exudates are important drivers of soil biogeochemical cycles, their role in shaping microbial community composition in the rhizosphere remains poorly understood. In specific, it is unclear how root exudate compounds belonging to different chemical classes (sugars, organic acid, amino acid, phenolics etc.) interact to shape the functional capacity of microbial communities to degrade different organic substrates in the soil. This thesis project will investigate this question by incubating soils with different compounds, compound mixtures and root litter leachates (potentially from different plant species) over time. Functional microbial diversity will be measured at different time points using the MicroResp assay. The effect of an one-time application of root exudates versus continuous additions of root exudates on microbial community composition could possibly also be investigated.
Used skills Literature review, writing proposal and thesis, experimental design, chemical and biological laboratory work, data analysis.
Requirements Required courses for MSc thesis Soil Biology