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Crop Biotech Update

Modifying the Structure of Wood Alters Plant Microbiome

January 20, 2016

Modifying the structure of poplar wood can also alter its endosphere microbiome - the bacteria that reside inside tree tissue. This was recently discovered by a study from the University of Hasselt, University of Gent and Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB).

Researchers looked into how trees with modified wood structure could be used as a basis for the production of bioethanol. University researchers Bram Beckers and Jaco Vangronsveld also wanted to investigate the effects of changes in the structure of wood on bacteria found in and around poplars. The researchers discovered that modifying the composition of poplar wood also alters the function and structure of the microbiome.

The researchers also discovered that these changes only occur within the plant tissue, called the endosphere as they saw no changes to the soil bacteria outside the plant. Unravelling the complex interactions between plants and their microbiome is crucial in studying the potential effects of modifications to crops.

Read the full article on VIB.