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PERN - Pan-European Rhizosphere Network

European - Russian initiative on Banking Rhizosphere Micro-Organisms



October 2014: Siva L.S. Velivelli, Paul De Vos, Peter Kromann, Stéphane Declerck and Barbara D. Prestwich (2014) Biological control agents: from field to market, problems, and challenges. Tends in Biotechnology - 32: 493-496

Global food security is vulnerable due to massive growth of the human population, changes in global climate, the emergence of novel/more virulent pathogens, and demands from increasingly discerning consumers for chemical-free, sustainably produced food products. Bacterium-based biological control agents (BCAs), if used as part of an integrated management system, may satisfy the above demands. We focus on the advantages, limitations, problems, and challenges involved in such strategies.

Read full article at doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2014.07.002


November 2013: Irena B. Ivshina and Maria S. Kuyukina  (2013) Turning Russian specialized microbial culture collections into resource centers for biotechnology. Trends in Biotechnology 31:609-611

Summary: Specialized nonmedical microbial culture collections contain unique bioresources that could be useful for biotechnology companies. Cooperation between collections and companies has suffered from shortcomings in infrastructure and legislation, hindering access to holdings. These challenges may be overcome by the transformation of collections into national bioresource centers and integration into international microbial resource networks.

Read full article at doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2013.08.002


October 2013: Soil biodiversity and soil community composition determine ecosystem multifunctionality

Plant Soil Interactions and Molecular Ecology, Institute for Sustainability Sciences, Agroscope, CH 8046 Zürich, Switzerland; Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zürich, CH 8057 Zürich, Switzerland; and Plant–Microbe Interactions, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Edited by David Tilman, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, and approved February 19, 2014 (received for review October 27, 2013)

Summary: Biodiversity loss has become a global concern as evidence accumulates that it will negatively affect ecosystem services on which society depends. So far, most studies have focused on the ecological consequences of above-ground biodiversity loss; yet a large part of Earth’s biodiversity is literally hidden below ground.Whether reductions of biodiversity in soil communities below ground have consequences for the overall performance of an ecosystem remains unresolved. It is important to investigate this in view of recent observations that soil biodiversity is declining and that soil communities are changing upon land use intensification. We established soil communities differing in composition and diversity and tested their impact on eight ecosystem functions in model grassland communities. We show that soil biodiversity loss and simplification of soil community composition impair multiple ecosystem functions, including plant diversity, decomposition, nutrient retention, and nutrient cycling. The average response of all measured ecosystem functions (ecosystem multifunctionality) exhibited a strong positive linear relationship to indicators of soil biodiversity, suggesting that soil community composition is a key factor in regulating ecosystem functioning. Our results indicate that changes in soil communities and the loss of soil biodiversity threaten ecosystem multifunctionality and sustainability. 

Read full article.