Discipline: Biological Sciences
LaTaijah Crawford - Delaware State University
Co-Author(s): Lathadevi K. Chintapenta, Petrina McKenzie-Reynolds, Nicole Miletti, and Gulnihal Ozbay, Delaware State University, DE
Abiotic stresses, specifically drought and salinity are the major reasons for worldwide crop loss. These predicted negative effects of global climate change might make food production more challenging. It has been reported that more than 50% of all the arable lands will be salinized by 2050. The significant outcome of this study will address salinity and drought stress in plants by applying mycorrhizae as a bio fertilizer. Mycorrhizae can efficiently uptake nutrients even under stress conditions and it is one of the key factors for sustainable agriculture. The main objective of this research is to investigate the mycorrhizal species that are widely prevalent in Blackbird Creek marsh and their potential roles as bio-fertilizers in the marsh.
This study focuses on the marsh environment because marshes are constantly prone to stress conditions and the microbes existing in this environment are highly stress-tolerant. Soil and plant tissues (root, leaf, and stem) samples from Blackbird creek marsh, Delaware have been collected. Vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) from soil and root have been identified by illumina sequence analysis. The results mostly identified endo mycorrhizae pertaining to the family Glomeraceae. The VAM fungi in roots were also identified by microscopic analysis. The future focus of this study will include cultivation of VAM fungi under aseptic laboratory conditions and preserving them as pure cultures on selective media. Green-house experiments will be performed to test the isolated mycorrhizal suspensions against plants treated with drought and salinity. The project outcome as the first study in this area will provide baseline information to the resource managers to assist with their decision making and marsh habitat management.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This study was supported, in part, by a grant from NSF HBCU-UP HRD-1533631 and from NSF EPSCoR-IIA-1301765.
Faculty Advisor: Gulnihal Ozbay, Lathadevi Chintapenta,