Plant and Soil Microbiome Study with NIFA

Impacts of Agricultural Systems on the Dynamics And Functions of Soil and Tomato-Associated Microbiome and Productivity

Sponsor: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, AFRI Competitive Grant
Principal Investigators: Ye Xia (The Ohio State University)
Co-PIs: Richard Dick, Gary GaoRattan Lal (The Ohio State University)
Graduate Student Researcher at the Lal Carbon Center: Chinmayee Priyadarshni


From the USDA website

Our long-term goals for the proposed research are to develop agronomic management systems for improving soil and tomato health for sustainable productivity; and deliver knowledge-based information and approaches to educators, students, farmers, and the other stakeholders to enhance tomato and soil health with the reduced chemical application to benefit human health and environment. The goals are based on the integration of the holistic, innovative, and ecologically sound agricultural management components, which includes arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and cover crop (ryegrass) to decipher the indicators of soil health and tomato soil-borne disease control, by connecting tomato and soil-associated microbial communities. Objective 1: Assess the effects of the integration of cover crop cereal rye and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) practices on enhancing tomato yield and disease control caused by one destructive soil-borne fungal pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum. Objective 2: Characterize and identify the functional elements of the soil and tomato root-associated microbiome affected by the integration of the cereal rye and AMF that contributes to tomato health and yield. Objective 3: Identify core soil health indicators (i.e., soil aggregation, bulk density, soil organic matters, and enzyme activity) associated with the integration of the cereal rye and AMF practices and elucidate their associations with soil and tomato root-associated microbiome to improve the tomato soil-borne disease control and yield. Objective 4: Develop extension activities for improving plant and soil health management.

Project Updates


Journal Articles
  • Piao Yang, Lijing Zhao, Yu Gary Gao, and Ye Xia. 2023. "Detection, Diagnosis, and Preventive Management of the Bacterial Plant Pathogen Pseudomonas syringae" Plants 12, no. 9: 1765.
  • Lijing Zhao, Piao Yang, Zhenzhen Zhao, Ye Xia. First report of Cephaliophora tropica causing leaf spot on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Picus) in U.S.A, Crop Protection,Volume 172,2023, 106324
Presentations and Conference Papers
  • Understanding plant-microbe interactions from the perspective of beneficial microbes. Corteva Plant Science Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, USA (2023)