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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #434164

Research Project: Microbial Networks on Harvested Apples and the Design of Antagonistic Consortia to Control Postharvest Pathogens

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Project Number: 8080-21000-032-018-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Dec 1, 2017
End Date: Sep 30, 2021

The overall objective is to provide the knowledge and tools needed to construct microbial consortia from the naturally-occurring apple microflora that can be used for the biocontrol of postharvest decay.

Bacterial and fungal communities in apple fruit will be characterized using amplicon and shotgun sequencing technologies. Culture collection of culturable apple microbiota will be established using standard microbiological methodology. To study the function of various microbial populations, community networks will be constructed using metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data. Full enzyme sets will be used to predict existing metabolic metagenomic networks, and how gain or loss of components of the microbiome impacts the networks. To characterize the metabolome of epiphytic apple microbiota, fruit washings and headspace analysis will be analyzed using HPLC, GC-MS, and LC-MS-MS. Metagenomic and functional analysis data will be used to design and construct different microbial consortia, combining both bacteria and yeasts present in the established culture collection. Metabolome of mixed microbial consortia as well as their impact on the natural fruit microbiome, and infection and development of pathogens will be determined.