DS0501 - Productions durables

Natural chitin-related bio-stimulators for sustainable agriculture – NICE CROPS

Natural chitin-related bio-stimulators for sustainable agriculture

Plants have evolved intricate and sensitive mechanisms to discriminate beneficial and harmful microorganisms via the signals that microorganisms produce. These include chitin-related molécules: chitinoligosaccharides (COs) et lipochitinoligosaccharides (LCOs) with huge potential for sustainable agriculture, because of their abilities to enhance plant nutrition and growth, and to incite plants to defend themselves against pests.

General objectives of the project

Our objectives are to evaluate the spectrum of organisms capable of producing COs and LCOs, analyze the molecular mechanisms involved in the different plant responses to these molecules, treat Medicago truncatula and soybean plants with different combinations of COs / LCOs and analyze the effectiveness of the different treatments on nodulation, mycorrhization, root development, basal immunity, growth and yield of plants under laboratory conditions and in the field.

We have developed highly sensitive biochemical methods to detect these molecules, chemical methods to synthesise them, and molecular, genetic and biochemical tools to study how they induce their effects on plants. By uniting this expertise we aim to understand the interconnections between the different activities of these molecules, and determine in lab, then field conditions, the best combinations for effectiveness on crop production. These mixes of biodegradable molecules in doses as low as milligrams per hectare will represent a breakthrough to grow crops with less fertiliser and less pesticides.

In progress

With as little as few mg / ha, these natural biodegradable chitinic molecules could help reduce the use of irrigation, fertilizers and chemical pesticides.

In progress

Plants have evolved sensitive and intricate mechanisms to discriminate beneficial and harmful microorganisms via the signals that these microorganisms produce. Such signals include chitin-related molecules with huge potential for sustainable agriculture, because of their abilities to enhance plant nutrition and growth, and to incite plants to defend themselves against pests. We were pioneers in discovering the structures and roles of chitin-related molecules produced by beneficial microorganisms. Subsequently, we have developed highly sensitive biochemical methods to detect these and other chitin-related molecules, chemical and enzymatic methods to synthesise them, and molecular, genetic and biochemical tools to study how they induce their effects on plants. The project will focus on two types of chitin-related molecules produced by diverse microorganisms that all commonly interact with plants: the lipochitinoligosaccharides (LCOs) and the chitinoligosaccharides (COs). Depending on their precise chemical structures these molecules can activate the nitrogen-fixing rhizobial symbiosis, the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis, plant root development and plant immunity. All types of molecule are active at extremely low concentrations, down to the nano or even to the pico molar range.

With our combined expertise we aim to evaluate the extent of the spectrum of organisms capable of producing COs and LCOs, and understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the interconnections between the different responses that these molecules induce in plants. Based on this knowledge we will then treat plants with different combinations of these structurally similar, but functionally different, microbial molecular signals, and assess their effectiveness on plant growth and yield. For this we will use the model plant Medicago truncatula as a case study, followed by soybean, and perform tests in both lab conditions and field trials. Such mixes of biodegradable molecules in doses as low as a fraction of milligram per hectare will represent a breakthrough to grow crops with less fertiliser and less pesticides.

The results of this ambitious new project will also lead to important fundamental discoveries in an emerging field of plant biology that seeks to understand how plants discriminate and simultaneously integrate multiple signals to produce the appropriate response.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Guillaume Bécard (Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3 - Laboratoire de Recherche en Sciences Végétales)

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.

Partner

NOVOZYMES BIOLOGICALS FRANCE
CNRS - CERMAV CNRS Centre de Recherche sur les Macromolécules Végétales
LIPM CNRS/INRA Laboratoire des Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes
UPS - LRSV Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3 - Laboratoire de Recherche en Sciences Végétales

Help of the ANR 745,201 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2014 - 48 Months

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