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Iowa Soybean Research Center

in collaboration with the Iowa Soybean Association

Seed Treatment Effects on the Seed and Soil Microbiome

By Gary Munkvold, professor of plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, ISU

Project Collaborator: Larry Halverson, professor of plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, ISU

Progress Report (January 2024)

Project summary

The spermosphere refers to the soil environment in the zone around the soybean seed from the time it is planted until a root system is established. The spermosphere is chemically and biologically altered by the presence of the seed and anything applied to the seed, but there is very little information about the specific changes that take place as a result of using different seed treatments. In order to understand these seed treatment effects, we will conduct experiments in the growth chamber and in the field with different soybean cultivars treated with various chemical and biological seed treatments, with or without inoculation with pathogens such as Fusarium virguliforme. Soil from the planting zone will be sampled just before planting. After planting, seeds and soil from the spermosphere will be carefully excavated at intervals and the microbiome will be characterized using amplicon sequencing to profile the bacterial and fungal microbial communities. This will allow us to measure changes in the entire microbial community, including both pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms in the spermosphere, providing insight into the mechanisms by which seed treatments affect crop performance. 

Selected for funding October 2022