Frontiers in plant microbiota research: mapping the path ahead

April 26, 2024

Between April 15 and 17, an international workshop at the Harnack House of the Max Planck Society in Berlin gathered together some of the leading experts in the field of the plant microbiota. The co-organizers of this workshop were Ruben Garrido-Oter, Stéphane Hacquard, and Paul Schulze-Lefert from the MPIPZ, Angela Sessitsch from the Austrian Institute of Technology, Jeff Dangl from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Maggie Wagner from the University of Kansas in the U.S.

The workshop was different from a typical conference in that only invited speakers attended and the number of participants was capped at about 40, in addition to some industry representatives, funding agency representatives, and journal editors as guests. This format was aimed at generating a friendly, interactive, and family-style atmosphere among the participants, and the format and the low number of participants ensured that every attendee had the opportunity to present their research. The research lectures and roundtable discussion had the aim of identifying future challenges and defining what resources the community will need for future research. Some of the topics included reductionist approaches for microbiota research; mechanistic insights into plant-microbiota interactions; artificial evolution of microbial communities; upcoming technical and methodological advances; applications for sustainable agriculture.

The workshop was generously supported by funds from the BAYER foundation, Sacco System, and the Shloeßmann Foundation.

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