Microbiome comprises all of the genetic material within microbiota. Microbiota is the entire collection of coexisting microorganisms in specific niche, like soil, water, specific part of plant or specific site either inside or out of human and animals. Health and robustness of plants, human and animals rely on the microbiota.
The increased need to produce food more sustainably by closing circles, like circular production, as well as reducing waste and associated losses, have brought the need for an integrated transdisciplinary approach. Incorporating microbiome research can gain knowledge to improve the sustainability of our food system and at the same time further improve health benefits for environment, plant, animal and human while maintaining the high level of safety of our food system. With advances in our understanding of microbiome dynamics across temporal and spatial gradients, a conceptual framework can be established in which knowledge and discoveries from the microbiome field can be interrogated and interpreted. Circular agro-food production systems can offer such a framework. This will enable us to understand complex interactions between the microbiome across the multidimensional and interconnected components (both biotic and abiotic stressors) within the circular agro-food production systems.
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has a unique position when it comes to microbiome research, due to the fact that it can collaborate internally. It is relatively easy to include experts from multiple disciplines or science groups, enabling the study of different aspects of the complete chain of food production system, including plant, soil, livestock, food, human, environment, consumer behaviour, economics, health, and welfare. Furthermore, both fundamental and applied research can be performed within WUR, that has the potential to conduct transdisciplinary studies on a large scale. Interactions among the relevant researchers working in the microbiome domain (or those interested applying/integrating it in near future) can be a challenge, due to the lack of common ground for research or the lack of communication among the researchers working on different aspects of the complete chain of food production systems. With this proposal, we intend to establish a framework that enables establishment of a critical mass towards microbiome research within WUR.