UK Crop Microbiome Cryobank

The UK Crop Microbiome Cryobank is a 60-month project to provide a unique, exploitable, and integrated CryoBank.

The CryoBank, launched in October 2020, is driven by the needs of the Agritech sector (academic and commercial) to convert the huge potential from the relatively under researched Crop Microbiome into usable outputs to underpin UK research activity, in line with the BBSRC strategic priorities in agriculture and food security enabling the development of solutions to improve soil and crop health.

A key objective is to provide the biological materials and bioinformatic tools to assist the development of discovery pipelines and the facilitation of economical production methods. Outputs from the project will have implications for plant health globally, and will support three of the UN’s Sustainable-Development Goals: Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption, and Production and Life on Land.

The focus will be on the microbiomes of major UK crops: (barley, oats, oil seed rape, potato, sugar beet and wheat) from three different soil types obtained from across the UK.

The key projected outputs of the UK Crop Microbiome CryoBank project will be:

  • A cryopreserved resource of characterised material from crop microbiomes with a prioritised collection strategy, consisting of fungi, bacteria and ‘whole’ microbiome samples. Frozen samples will be made publicly available to. the user community through the CABI database and will be dynamically linked to genomic data
  • The project will develop robust methodologies for collection and storage of intact microbial communities in environmental samples and extracts of total DNA, which will be available to researchers
  • Using ‘state of the art’ cryopreservation technology – advanced cryopreservation regimes will be developed. This will provide enhanced capability to sustainably maintain the resource in a genotypically and phenotypically stable state
  • Genomic characterisation of the samples for assessing microbial diversity (including symbionts, endophytes, pathogens), from whole community taxonomies (bacteria, fungi, viruses) to individual isolate genomes will be undertaken
  • To support the aim to find new biological based products for the Agritech industry, an added value demonstration of the utility of the UK-CMCB to the user community will take advantage of PGPR isolation and synthetic community construction
  • A validated sequence resources database, ‘AgMicrobiome Base’ linked to EBI, available to the Agritech sector and researchers, including model organisms and novel product outputs. This will be publicly available