Phytobiomes Alliance Newsletter – September 2018


Phytobiomes Accelerated Discovery

In July the Alliance received news that the project proposal it had submitted to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) had not been accepted for funding. After communicating with a FFAR representative, it became clear that in order to be considered for funding, the project would need major revisions on a conceptual level. A few members of the project team are currently evaluating whether they wish to develop a substantially revised project for submission in late 2018 or early 2019.

Genome-based circumscription and phenotyping of regulated microbes, especially the select agent Ralstonia solancearum

In August, the Alliance submitted a suggested project to the USDA-APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). If funded, Boris Vinatzer would lead the project to develop and implement a fast, accurate, culture-independent whole genome-based classification and identification pipeline of bacterial pathogens as well as non-pathogenic biocontrol strains. Boris recently joined the Alliance Coordinating Committee as a project leader for developing a sequenced-based classification system for microbes.

Revised Alliance Strategic Roadmap

Over the next year, the Alliance plans to update and refine its strategic roadmap by identifying specific deliverables to target for completion within the next five years. The Alliance Working Groups will take the lead on identifying gaps and tools and resource needs. If you, or a member of your group, team, or company is interested in participating, please contact Alliance staff. We are currently seeking individuals who wish to be involved in the following Alliance Working Groups:

    • Regulatory Science
    • Standards for microbiome research
    • Plant disease vectors
    • Indoor agriculture
    • Microbe classification systems.


Press releases and announcements
  • We developed a set of standards slides about phytobiomes, the Alliance, its goals and priorities. Contact us if you wish to receive those slides to add to your presentations.

Alliance Events

  • 4-6 December 2018 – International Phytobiomes Conference 2018, Montpellier, France. Preparations are gearing up for this major event organized by the Alliance in collaboration with IRD and INRA. Fifteen international speakers have already accepted the invitation to speak from the Organizing Committee and more are pending. The Conference Scientific Committee is currently selecting abstracts for talks and will finalize the program by the end of September. We hope to see you all at the Conference and encourage you to disseminate the news about the event in your network.
  • 7 December 2018 – Alliance Scientific Coordinating Committee meeting, Montpellier, France (closed meeting, open only to members of the committee).
  • 12-16 January 2019 – the Alliance will organize a workshop during the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, CA, USA

Upcoming events

list of events (upcoming and past) is available on the website.
If you are going to or are aware of a conference, workshop, or seminar on phytobiome-related topics and if that event is not listed on the website, please let us know.
In case you could not join us at an event, PDFs of the latest presentations made by the Alliance Leadership team are available on the website.

New Coordinating Committee Members

We are pleased to welcome:

  • Michael Ionesco, as representative of Evogene, a financial sponsor.
  • Charley Hubbard, as new representative of Indigo Agriculture, a financial sponsor.
  • Jacob Parnell, as representative of Novozymes, a financial sponsor.
  • Surya Saha, Cornell University, as project leader for Plant Disease Vectors.
  • Boris Vinatzer, Virginia Tech, as project leader for Sequence-Based Classification System for Microbes
  • Hong Zhu, as new representative of BioConsortia, a financial sponsor.

Our Sponsors

Welcome to our new sponsors: Novozymes, Evogene, the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology.

The Phytobiomes Alliance is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Eversole Associates, Monsanto, The Climate Corporation, Novozymes, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Indigo, the Noble Research Institute, NewLeaf Symbiotics, Evogene, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), Colorado State University, the University of Maryland, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, the American Phytopathological Society, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and BioConsortia.

To learn more about our sponsors, have a look at the individual sponsor pages on the website.