Responding to the cry-for-help: Exploiting disease suppressive microbes and signalling to control soil-borne crop disease

Grantham Scholar Caleb Morgan researches plant-beneficial microbes as a sustainable way to increase crop yields.

The project

Meeting the demands of our expanding global population requires a substantial increase in food production. Traditionally, enhancing crop yield relied on agrochemicals like fertilisers and pesticides. However, considering the challenges posed by climate change, it’s imperative to shift towards more sustainable practices. Plant-beneficial microbes present a promising avenue—they not only boost crop yields but also offer disease resistance against pathogens that cause significant losses in yield, devastating our food systems without causing harm to the environment.

In my current project, I’m focused on identifying specific soil-based microbes that offer these advantageous traits to the host plant. My goal is to understand the mechanisms through which these microbes confer benefits and explore how plants can adapt to their environment, actively fostering the recruitment of these beneficial microbes.



Dr Manoj Menon

Department of Geography

Dimitrios Drakopolos

Syngenta CASE partner