Do soil microorganisms have a role in circular agriculture?
I am a scientist focused on problem solving and with a great passion for microbial services and symbiotic interactions. I aim at finding ways of harnessing microbes to improve quality of life while reducing our environmental footprint. I believe that team work is key to generate knowledge with impact that promotes a more sustainable agriculture and circular economy.
I am currently working on projects focused on assessing the impact of waste products as fertilizers for crops, thus contributing to circular agriculture. This involves addressing topics like:
- Soil suppressiveness. Could we help to better manage plant diseases and nutrient constraints that affect crops through the application of soil amendments? How? By developing an holistic research on soil disease suppressiveness which integrates different players (soil, roots and their microbiomes) and different expertise (chemistry, root physiology and microbial functional ecology).
- Transmission of antibiotics resistance. How to avoid human risks such as the transmission of human pathogens and antibiotics resistance? We are studying how antibiotics and pathogens are transmitted in the food production chain (waste product-soil-crop).
I studied biology and was trained as research assistant in molecular biology and genetics. Later I specialized in microbial ecology, plant physiology and biological control. During my PhD thesis I studied beneficial root traits that help plants to adapt to drought conditions via root signaling molecules and fungal symbionts. Currently I am a researcher in the Biointeractions and Plant Health group in Wageningen Research.