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Monday, May 16 • TBA
The effect of the microbiome on the productivity of wheat in response to stress

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Washington grows and harvests nearly 200 million bushels of wheat a year. Climate change is causing drought and abiotic stresses affecting farmers and wheat crop yields. The goal of my research is to determine whether the application of bacterial inoculants can enhance the tolerance of wheat to environmental stress

Three environmental stress conditions and a control were tested: drought, cold, and high salinity. In each of these conditions, plants were treated with a commercial soil inoculant that has B. subtilus, B. amyloliquefaciens, B. megaterium plus some mycorrhizae fungi. The commercial inoculant was mixed with water to make a type of “tea”. The “tea” was added to the soil for some plants and used to treat the seeds (but not soil) for some plants. Other plants had no microbe treatment. After the plants had grown with or without the microbe treatment their leaf area, root mass, aboveground mass, stomatal conductance, and photosynthetic rates were measured.

Results indicate that wheat plants treated with the commercial bacterial inoculant prepared as a “tea” that was added to soil had 2-3 times higher total fresh weight and 5-6 times total leaf area as compared to plants grown without bacteria or with bacteria added as a dry soil amendment.

The wheat industry is important in Washington as the climate and landscape change environmental stresses that lower plant productivity. Microbes that promote plant growth will be important to add to the soils to combat environmental stresses.


Rowan Thomas

Undergraduate, Biological Sciences


Mary Poulson

Mentor, Biological Sciences


Monday May 16, 2022 TBA

Attendees (3)