A SmartChip for Pathogenic and Beneficial Microbes Underlying Soil Health

High-throughput, low-cost diagnostics for multiple aspects of soil health are a necessary component of maximizing the ability of researchers to understand soil health processes and farmers to effectively adopt soil health management practices. Across many growing regions of WA, soilborne diseases are a major limitation and given their patchy nature a large number of samples is required to detect their presence in fields. Additionally, many growers are taking action to improve soil health through the fostering of beneficial microbes. This project will focus on two areas: optimizing a high-throughput low-cost qPCR screen for disease-causing agents in organic vegetable systems in W WA and in dryland cereal-legume-oilseed cropping systems across WA. We will focus on the pathogenic fungi Phytophthora, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Verticillium, and Fusarium as well as the protist Plasmodiophora brassicae, include primers specific for the 18S region of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and consider additional taxa based on stakeholder interest. This work will connect farm management to the presence of key microbial taxa that impact soil health.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 218
  • Project Status: Ongoing