February 26-28, 2019
Raleigh Durham, North Carolina

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Day One
Wednesday 27th February 2019

Day Two
Thursday 28th February 2019

08.00
Registration & Morning Coffee

09.10
Chairperson Opening Remarks

Demonstrating Causality of Plant-Soil Microbiome Interactions

Synopsis

Introduction and Purpose:
Directed discovery of microbes in various soils has been central to finding new members of plant and soil microbiome communities. Whilst research has focused on understanding the mechanisms of action of well-known microbial strains, a lot of unknown matter remains in our soils and the majority of plant-soil and microbe-microbe interactions remain unclear. The purpose of this theme is to showcase new research on microbial interdependence, synergy, competition and functionality and demonstrate how this can inform microbial product development.

09.20
Bacterial Community Maintenance of Plant Root Development

  • Omri Finkel Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Dangl Lab, , University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Synopsis

  • Large synthetic communities provide reproducible trait discovery platforms that allow us to infer causality through experimental manipulation
  • The composition of the plant microbiome has a profound impact on plant root development
  • Small  changes to a polymicrobial inoculation can induce wide developmental shifts in the plant

09.50
Microbial Source and Recipient Environments: Interactions Impact Microbial Establishment and Function

  • Terry Bell Assistant Professor of Phytobiomes, Penn State University

Synopsis

  • Soil microbiomes are shaped by local factors and microbial immigration
  • Establishment of incoming microbes depends on dispersal and adaptedness to soil conditions
  • Can understanding microbial history help in modifying agricultural microbiomes?

10.20
Speed Networking

10.50
Morning Refreshments

11.20
Assessing Metabolism and Interspecies Interactions in Microbial Communities via Metaproteomics

Synopsis

  • Metaproteomics encompasses all methods to identify and quantify proteins in microbial communities on a large scale
  • This allows us to infer crucial metabolism, physiology and microbe-microbe and microbe-plant interactions in microbial communities
  • We are currently optimizing metaproteomics to study plant-microbiome interactions particularly in the rhizosphere

Mind the Gap – A Sequencing Conundrum

Synopsis

Introduction and Purpose:

Light years of progress have been made in terms of microbial genome sequencing. However, there remains a gap in understanding how, why and when microbial products perform at a fundamental genomic level. The purpose of this session is to present new approaches to genome sequencing, bioinformatics and metatranscriptomics and understand how sequencing platforms are accelerating microbial products along the development pipeline.

11.50
Ecology in Industry—Characterizing and Modifying Crop Microbiomes to Increase Yields

Synopsis

  • Industry relies on academia for fundamental research.
  • There are gaps in knowledge of the plant microbiome and areas for collaboration with industry to fill those gaps.
  • Sequencing and modelling advances are needed to develop tools to make microbial products more effective.

12.10
Performance Biologicals: Building a Discovery Platform for Microbes with Novel Modes of Actions

  • Kirk Francis Manager-Performance Biologicals & Trait Knowledge , BASF

Synopsis

  • Combining metagenomics with machine learning to identify microbes associated with traits of interest
  • Targeted isolation results in focused functional strain collection
  • Platform is adaptable to multiple areas of interest – from agriculture to cosmetics

12.30
Digging for Answers in Long Read Technologies

Synopsis

  • Can long read technologies enable genome assembly from metagenomics samples?
  • Will long reads enable greater functional understanding?
  • How do we manage all the data and metadata?

12.50
Soil Microbiome Characterization: Standards, Sequencing, and Bioinformatics

Synopsis

  • More details to follow

Fermentation & Formulation Methods Amenable to Scale Up & Delivery of Consistently Performing Products

Synopsis

Introduction and Purpose:
The industry remains united in its challenges over formulation and scale-up of production. Questions remain unanswered about the best modes of delivery, whilst lack of stability and variable performance of microbial derived products has resulted in inconsistent levels of grower adoption of these technologies. This session aims to reimagine the established science of fermentation and formulation in order to facilitate microbial product development.

13.05
Lunch and Networking

14.05
The Microbial Formulation Challenge—A Processing & Stability Review

  • Roy Chen Formulation Team Lead, ADAMA US

Synopsis

  • Key to microbial fermentation process
  • Manage downstream formulations
  • Discuss stability issues of microbial spores
  • Summary

14.25
Optimization of Microbiome-Based Ag-Biologicals Product Candidates to Address Efficacy, Stability and Commercial Viability

Synopsis

  • Exploring the challenges of developing live microbial-based Ag-Biologicals products
  • Utilizing of computational predictive biology platform, along product development process, to address key challenges
  • Function based design implementation examples (e.g. teaming, formulation, fermentation)

14.45
From Shake Flask to Pilot Scale – Scaling Fermentation and Formulation

Synopsis

  • Scaling fermentation can lead to changes in microbial growth and condition
  • Trade-offs in fermentation cost efficiency and microbial condition can impact formulation effectiveness
  • Strategies for overcoming trade-offs and improving formulation will be discussed

15.05
Optimising Production of Agbiologicals to Align with Increasing Market and Farmer Needs

Synopsis

  • Adapting production capacity from fermentation to recovery, can increase efficiency of production to not only meet high volume requirements, but also deliver high quality products
  • Combining different approaches to formulation (supports and modes of delivery) to result in easy, efficient use by farmers on their crops while keeping product viability for sustained time periods.

15.25
Panel Discussion: Can New Approaches Towards Formulation Truly Increase Product Stability Before Field Application?

Synopsis

  • Can new approaches towards formulation reduce batch to batch variability and prolong product shelf life before field application?
  • How can scientists ensure that strains will be able to invade, colonize, persist and remain efficacious in the environment?
  • Can you address time control over microbial release?
  • How can groups of microbial strains be used to ensure or buffer invasion and persistence of one specific strain?
  • Can you measure the impact of different agbiological products in soil over time?

15.55
Afternoon Refreshments and Networking

Establishing Gold Standards for Greenhouse & Field Trials

Synopsis

Introduction and Purpose:
Gold standard expectations for randomized controlled trials set by the chemical industry are not applicable to the testing of microbial products. There is a huge need to re-define best practice for conducting greenhouse and field trials and ensure that this is communicated to the chemical industry that conducts testing of microbial-based Ag products. The purpose of this theme will be to rethink the benchmarks for greenhouse & field trials in order to demonstrate the true value of using agbiologicals to improve yields, productivity and environmental sustainability.

16.25
Defining New Standards for Biopesticides Field Trials

Synopsis

  • Trial design driven by the chemical industry is creating problems for demonstrating the added value of microbial derived products
  • How can we better assess performance of biologicals and how can we measure the impact of these products on the environment (i.e. on the soil microbes, pollinators, earth worms) and not just the phytotoxicity on the plants?
  • Outlining current efforts by research community and regulatory agencies to incorporate new methodology into evaluation of biologicals

16.45
Remote Sensing Imagery, Signal or Noise: Validating the Approach and Making Lead Decisions

Synopsis

  • The capabilities of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)
  • How to manage and validate complex data sets
  • The best measures for microbial treatments in corn

17.05
Breakout Roundtables

Synopsis

How can we best communicate the value of microbial derived products to growers and the public?

How is the cumulative impact of pollution, contaminated water ways and agchemicals causing antimicrobial resistance to biotic stressors of crops?

Realizing the full potential of agbiologicals requires holistic approaches to understanding both the ecosystem of the plant-soil microbiome and the ecosystem of the product development value chain. The purpose of this theme is to address broader questions regarding agbiologicals in an informal setting to build a better understanding of their critical need and use.

17.35
Chairperson Closing Remarks

17.45
Close of Conference Day One and Evening Drinks Reception Hosted by the Microbiome Movement