What is apple-biome?
Apple-Biome is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions project, which is funded by the European Commission (Horizon 2020). The project aims to decipher the origin, distribution, and dissemination of the apple microbiome. This will help us find answer more general questions such as what is the origin of the plant microbiome? is the plant’s microbiome inherited, and if so, how? what defines the mature state of the plant microbiome? how does the plant acquire microbes to complement its inherited microbiome in order to reach that mature state? how the microbiome is distributed among the plant parts, organs, and tissue systems? how the microbiome is disseminated to the environment? and how it is transmitted to new hosts? what is the relationship between these microorganisms and the plant’s health, production, and produce quality?
Answering these questions will provide the foundation of a new revolution in understanding and assisting the management of plant health and productivity, and the development of environmentally-friendly agricultural practices. The Apple-Biome project uses hypothesis-driven approach to decipher to the origin and restauration of a healthy
For years, research done in the field of agricultural science ignored, at least partially, the microbiome concept. Apple-biome postulates novel ideas, based on a multidisciplinary approach, to describe and decipher the plant microbiome at unprecedented resolution. This is the first project applying basic research questions from plant microbiology for the apple, one of the most important fruits in Europe. In this project, each objective and experiment will provide cutting-edge information and lay the ground for innovative future researches and practical applications based on the use of the microbiome to control plant diseases and pests and to improve quantity and quality of the productions.
Results of this project will help to understand the microbiome’s life cycle, associate microbes with specific organs and tissues, and identify microbial species that define a healthy host with healthy organs and offspring. From there, it will be easy to determine changes, understand disease and disorders, and find ways to correct unbalanced microbiomes. Identifying how the microbes are acquired and to which organs and tissues they are associated with, will help in understanding the optimal methods to introduce microbial species to the host. While the proposed approaches are novel, once the validity of the hypotheses is proven, they will serve as a foundation for future microbiome studies. These studies will drive the development and implementation of safe, environmentally-friendly strategies for global agriculture production. These innovations in the management of plant health have myriad positive and far-reaching implications for environmental and human health.
The domesticated apple (Malus domestica or M. pumila) is the main fruit crop of temperate regions and one of the most popular edible fruits worldwide. In the last decade, the world production of apple fruits has grown progressively, reaching more than 80 million tons in 2014 from approximately 5 million hectares planted globally. Apples have been a principal component of human diet for thousands of years and have played a major role in human evolution, survival, and the shaping of our civilizations. They also have a positive impact on human health by lowering blood pressure and sugar, reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, and can even prevent some types of cancer. Currently there are more than 7,500 apple cultivars all of which can be traced to the ancestral progenitor Malus sieversii. The Tian Shan forests in the border region of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Xinjiang were identified as the geographic area in which the apple was first domesticated.