Challenges to the agricultural enterprise in Nebraska are a microcosm of the grand challenges facing the United States and global agriculture. Nebraska’s economy is based largely on agriculture, including the production of maize and soybeans. Investments in research, education, and public outreach are vital to sustain this critical component of Nebraska’s economy. This project kindles a comprehensive, multidisciplinary research initiative with the goal of producing a compendium of basic research findings resulting in predictable, translational, and transformational outcomes for improved maize performance, a genetic model plant and agriculturally important crop in Nebraska, the United States and across the globe.
The Center for Root and Rhizobiome Innovation (CRRI) brings together researchers from four Nebraska universities with diverse but complementary expertise. The Center’s research will be anchored by an integrated platform of systems and synthetic biology that will investigate the interaction between plant performance and metabolism of maize and its rhizobiome, the root-associated soil microbiome.
CRRI will develop a systems level understanding of root metabolism and its influence on interactions with soil microbes, determine how these interactions are affected by genetic variation and environmental perturbations, and use this information for iterative, synthetic re-design of root metabolism to promote plant health and beneficial root-soil microbe interactions.