CE02 - Terre vivante

IMproving Microbial INoculation based on Ecological Niche Theory - From theory to practice – IMMINENT

Submission summary

The inoculation of beneficial bacteria can improve the sustainability of agricultural systems in terms of agricultural production and environmental outcomes. However, the poor survival of these inocula often limits their effectiveness, which contributes to the low repeatability of the results obtained with microbial inoculants in the field. This is a major barrier to the development of this economic sector. Whereas the influence of soil physico-chemical variables on inocula survival in soil has been fairly widely analysed, the role of inoculum-microbiota interactions in the soil as a determinant of the survival and efficacy of inocula has been little studied. IMMINENT will build on our recent results showing that an inoculation event reduces the overlap between community and inoculum niches, with the main assumption that repeated inoculations may be a solution for more successful and reliable use of microbial inocula in agriculture. Integrating the resources of 4 academic teams and 2 companies with skills in microbial ecology, soil sciences, agronomy and analysis and use of inocula, IMMINENT will (i) elucidate the mechanisms determining the success of unique and recurrent inoculations; (ii) assess different inoculation strategies based on the ecological niche theory; and (iii) develop a new type of inocula and new inoculation strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agro-ecosystems and to improve crop production. IMMINENT will also develop a range of activities to transfer the knowledge acquired to the sector, in particular to producers and distributors of microbial inocula. IMMINENT will thus help alleviating a major barrier for the development of the production and distribution of microbial inoculants in agriculture. It will also make it possible to strengthen the sustainability of agriculture in terms of food security and climate change mitigation.

Project coordination

Xavier LE ROUX (Ecologie microbienne)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LEM Ecologie microbienne
Université de Groeningen / Faculty of Science and Engineering
EURALIS / Euralis Céréales

Help of the ANR 501,934 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2021 - 48 Months

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