The APS Public Policy Board (PPB) announces a new and exciting advocacy target, the Phytobiomes Initiative. The vision of the Phytobiomes Initiative is to have a comprehensive understanding of phytobiomes and the capacity for their optimization by 2025.
We define “phytobiome” as the entire microbial community (bacteria, archae, fungi, oomycetes, viruses, and nematodes) associated with different plant compartments, including the rhizosphere, phyllosphere, and endophytic compartments.
There are a lot of “biomes” projects underway, but none are focused solely on exploring phytobiomes, particularly the biomes of plants used for food, feed, and fiber. While most biome projects include metagenome, interactome, and functional analyses at a fundamental science level, the Phytobiomes Initiative is a complete systems approach that spans foundational to applied science focused on downstream application, i.e., using the information on phytobiomes to help double production of safe and nutritious food, feed, and fiber.