Phytobiomes Alliance Newsletter – November 2021


Genome Sequence-Based Classification System for Microbes

The Alliance-coordinated project (funded by the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) began in August 2019 and focused on the select agent Ralstonia solanacearum (Rs). The project was completed in August 2021.
In this project, a classification system based on whole genome sequences that was developed by Boris Vinatzer and Linwood Heath of Virginia Tech was used to precisely identify microbes and conclusively distinguish pathogenic and non-pathogenic Rs strains. Manuscripts are currently in preparation.  Over the long-term and once expanded beyond Rs, this method could be beneficial for accelerating the regulatory pathway for international and interstate shipments as well as commercialization of microbial products.
Other project partners include: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University, USDA-APHIS, and University of Hawaii.
To learn more about the project, check the project page and watch this webinar.

Standards Development & Data Infrastructure

The Alliance is involved in multiple efforts related to the development of standards for microbiome and systems approaches to agricultural research and production.

  • The Alliance is actively engaged with the International Microbiome Multi-Omics Standard Alliance (IMMSA). Coordinated by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, IMMSA is an open consortium of microbiome-focused researchers from industry, academia, and government.
  • The Alliance joined the US National Microbiome Data Collaborative and is working to ensure that standards development takes into consideration the needs for microbial products industry and the international activities underway, especially in Europe.
Regulatory Science

The Alliance has established connections with regulatory agencies at the EU level, in the UK, and in the US, with hopes of continuing to broaden the activities once in-person meetings resume.

  • In August 2021, the Alliance participated in the EU Microbial Plant Protection Products Task Force webinar entitled “Biological Plant Protection Products and the Future of Europe’s and the World’s Green Deal” and has connected with Task Force leadership to support the effort to establish a fast-track market access procedure in the EU for safe and effective microbial plant protection products.
  • The Alliance Executive Director, Kellye Eversole, joined an Open Letter to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive with a call for regulatory reform of biopesticides.
  • Alliance leadership is monitoring the consultation activities of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) related to the development of a plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain, which is expected to be published in 2022.
  • The Alliance is monitoring EU and US regulatory agencies regulations related to requirements for metadata and whole genome sequencing of microorganisms intended to be used in the food chain or in food production.
  • The Alliance participates in activities relevant to the regulations which may impact the commercialization of biostimulants.


  • The Alliance joined the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI) as a global engagement organization. The overall objective of the AG2PIU is to assemble and prepare a transdisciplinary community to conduct genome-to-phenome (G2P) research. The project connects crop and livestock scientists to each other and to scientists working in data, statistics, engineering and social sciences to identify shared problems and collaborate on solutions in genome-to-phenome science. The AG2PI hosts activities such as fields days, workshops and conferences, for a broad range of researchers to connect to and learn from one another.
  • The Alliance Executive Director, Kellye Eversole, joined the scientific advisory board of the World Bioprotection Forum, a UK-based, international, non-profit organization focused on improving regulatory frameworks for microbial products and encouraging collaboration between the biocontrol industry and academia in the AgriTech sector.
  • The Alliance is also participating in the AgBioData research coordination network which is focused on bringing together the international community to enhance genomics, genetics, and breeding research outcomes through standardization of practices and protocols across agricultural databases. Monthly webinars are held and the recordings are available on the AgBioData YouTube channel. The Alliance primary interest is in the development of metadata standards and emerging data types.

Alliance Webinar Series

All webinars are free to attend and are scheduled at 11:00am Eastern US Time. Recordings are posted subsequently to the Alliance YouTube channel. Subscribe to the channel to never miss a new upload.

Upcoming webinar:
Past webinars (since the last issue of the newsletter):

Would you like to receive news and updates about events organized by the Alliance directly in your inbox? Register to the Alliance events mailing list.

if you would like to present your work or suggest topics or speakers for upcoming webinars, please contact us.

Phytobiomes Alliance Events

Upcoming phytobiome-related events

For updates, check the events calendar on the website.
If you are aware of an event on phytobiome-related topics (especially those which address phytobiome components beyond microbiomes) and if that event is not listed on the website, please let us know.
We developed a set of standards slides about phytobiomes, the Alliance, its goals and priorities. Contact us if you wish to receive those slides in PowerPoint format to add to your presentations.

Media Partnership

6th Microbiome Movement – AgBioTech Summit, 22-24 February 2022, Raleigh, NC, USA

With an ever-increasing consumer demand to move away from chemical and synthetic farming practices as the negative effects of chemical fertilizers become clearer, and global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion in the next couple of decades, the agricultural industry must innovate new technologies that maximize productivity whilst limiting chemical inputs.

The 6th Microbiome Movement – AgBioTech Summit returns physically in February 2022 as the dedicated forum for scientists, agronomists, and entrepreneurs from across the Ag industry in order to harness the plant-soil microbiome to discover and translate the next generation of scientifically-driven AgBiologicals that will transform grower yield, sustainability and commercial outcomes.

Our program, created directly with leaders from the field, addresses the most pressing challenges in the space through a series of presentations, live Q&A’s and panels through leveraging insights from over 40 speakers across 3 days.

Download your free event guide to get full access on the agenda, speaker faculty and discounts.

Remember to use the Phytobiomes Alliance discount code IPBA10 when you register to enjoy 10% off your booking.

Kellye Eversole will attend the meeting. On Tuesday 22 February, she will participate in the panel discussion “Assessing the Value Proposition of AgBiologicals in the Next 5 Years” and she will lead an interactive discussion group on the challenges and opportunities for microbials and carbon capture.

Media Partnership

World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, 22-23 March 2022, San Francisco, CA, USA & Virtual

The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit is the annual meeting place for the global agtech ecosystem, where agri-food businesses, investors and tech pioneers gather to exchange insights, be inspired, and identify future partners.

In March 2022, the summit will reunite the agri-food community for the first time in three years, live in San Francisco.

The summit is an unrivalled opportunity to meet up with industry colleagues from across the US and around the world, check in with partners, kickstart new connections, and secure face to face time with new prospects during side-meetings, dinners, drinks receptions, and dedicated networking experiences.

Secure your place now to join top-level professionals in San Francisco or online on 22-23 March 2022 – use code PHYTOFRIEND to get US$770 off ticket price.

With two full days of action in San Francisco complemented by an interactive virtual platform for networking and content, the hybrid format supports connections with agri-food leaders and their teams around the world, opening up the summit to a bigger global network than ever before.

Our Sponsors

The Phytobiomes Alliance is sponsored by Bayer Crop Science, Eversole Associates, INRAE, Valent BioSciences, Biovante, Colorado State University, IRD, Joyn Bio, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NewLeaf Symbiotics, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Pivot Bio, the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research, Aphea.Bio, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and Karyosoft.

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