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NSFC-CGIAR Cooperative Project on Lancang-Mekong region Rice Soil Microbiome Supported

Updated: 2021-11-24

Recently, the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) announced supported collaborative projects with research centers or institutions of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) for 2022. The project proposal applied for by the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IARRP-CAAS) entitled "Research on the microbiome and its Functions in the Asian Tropical Rice Planting Soils in the Lancang-Mekong region" in cooperation with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has been approved for financial support. The leader is Dr Ruan Zhiyong and Dr Didier Lesueur of the Asia-Pacific Network CMBP (Common Microbial Biotechnology Platform) of The Alliance Bioversity International/CIAT is involved too.

Rice is the most important food crop in Asia's Lancang-Mekong region, contributing 40 percent of the world's rice production. In this region, over-dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides continues to negatively impact soil health and the wider ecosystem. The rice soil microbiome plays a key‐role in nutrient availability, growth promotion and rice health. Understanding and managing the rice soil microbiome could allow promoting beneficial microbial communities and reducing the impact of chemical inputs.

Both IARRP-CAAS and CIAT agreed to work together on studying the rice soil microbiome in the Lancang-Mekong region. This collaborative project aims to identify the microorganisms associated with tropical rice and associated environments by testing paddy soil samples collected from China, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, explore the functional aspects of rice and soil health, isolate and culture core beneficial microbes with a cultureomics strategy, develop biofertilizers with the isolated microbes for rice planting, and realize the green and sustainable development of rice production by reducing dependence on chemical inputs in the Lancang-Mekong region.

The expected results of the project will expand knowledge of the functional aspects of rice soil microbiomes for sustainable and environmentally friendly rice production.

IARRP-CAAS has good cooperation with CIAT for studying and utilization of beneficial agricultural microorganisms. In 2019, the CAAS-CIAT Joint Laboratory in Advanced Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture was set up at IARRP in Beijing. Dr Zhang Bin of IARRP-CAAS and Dr Didier Lesueur are the coordinators of this Joint Laboratory. The current NSFC supported project with a budget of 2 million yuan (RMB) will greatly contribute in the strengthening of this ongoing collaboration on soil health.