Sam’s research focusses on the the community of microorganisms living in and around the roots of wheat plants.
This microbial community can help protect crops from disease or drought, and aid growth via increased nutrient availability. His aim is to understand how this community functions to benefit a crops plant, with the goal of using the microbiome to augment crop health in the future.
Sam’s project uses a mix of approaches. He applies the methods of microbial ecology to study the community as a whole and to try and understand which bacteria, fungi or archaea are of most importance to the plant. He also uses classical microbiology approaches to try and understand how genera such as Streptomyces can interact with the host plant and protect the host from disease.