Microbes for sustainable intensification of agriculture - Industrial hemp (Research)
One of the biggest current agronomic challenge is to develop a sustainable intensive agriculture to meet rising demands in food and natural fiber production, without contributing to ecosystem degradation and climate change. Exploiting the ecosystem services provided by beneficial microorganisms associated with plants is a promising solution. Hemp is the object of a renewed interest as a sustainable alternative to a diverse range of products including textile, construction material and bio-energy. The establishment of a stable market necessitates to address challenges encountered by farmers to meet industry requirements. Hemp fiber yield and quality are highly dependent on the environmental conditions and agronomic practices. The aim of this research proposal is to characterize hemp associated microbial community and to understand its influence on fiber production. It will provide fundamental knowledge about how the ecosystem services provided by beneficial micro-organisms associated with hemp can be exploited to improve fiber characteristics of economic importance for Flemish industry. In addition, it will result on a predictive model for hemp fiber characteristics using microbial data, the identification of a consortium of microbial strain for fiber production enhancement and the identification of agricultural practices favoring microbial communities associated with superior fiber production.
Period of project
01 November 2021 - 31 October 2023