Building models to predict interactions in plant microbiomes
Microbiologists at ETH Zurich have developed computational models that use nutrients and metabolism of plant-associated bacteria to predict how the microbes interact on the surface of leaves and ultimately form the microbiome.
Microbiomes play a key role for plant health and could make agriculture more sustainable – but the principles behind the assembly of their communities have remained largely unknown.
Researchers at ETH Zurich have shown how bacteria can compete for food, but also cooperate thanks to differences in metabolism – resulting in stably structured communities.
Their models can accurately predict these interactions and can help to design microbiomes for specific applications in the future.