Augmenting the plant metagenome to improve crop yield and stress resilience


  • Term: One-year, starting 2015
  • Funding amount: $50,000
  • Lead researcher(s): Vladimir Vujanovic, University of Saskatchewan; Geoffrey von Maltzahn, Symbiota;  Dr. James Germida, University of Saskatchewan
  • Funding partners: Symbiota, Genome Prairie/Genome Canada
  • Project description: The aim of this research is to address the significant need for improved yield, water-use efficiency, and heat-stress tolerance in major Canadian and global crops, by developing breakthrough microbial products related to metagenomics.


    Metagenomics is defined as the direct genetic analysis of genomes contained with an environmental sample, in this case, the plant and its microbiome. Metagenomic studies have become an increasingly popular way to measure the level of integration of plant microbiomes for improved crop production and food security. Metagenomic studies apply a suite of genomic technologies and bioinformatics tools to directly access the genetic content of entire communities of organisms.

    If successful, this project will The ultimate goal of this project is to generate first-in-class products for addressing the needs for improved yield, heat tolerance, and drought resilience in wheat, maize, canola, barley, soybean, and pulses.

    Symbiota, one of the funding partners for this research, was founded out of Flagship Venture Labs to pioneer natural microbes that can colonize plants and dramatically improve crop yield and resilience to abiotic stresses.

    Sask Wheat’s funding will be directed towards carrying out additional wheat specific replicated small plot trials and demonstration trials (growing season 2015) within Saskatchewan, in alignment with the scope and objectives/activities of the PLM project recently funded through Genome Canada’s GAPP.

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