Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Research Project #441960

Research Project: Effect of the Environmental Microbiome and Plant Injury on the Lettuce Microbiome

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Project Number: 2038-21530-002-038-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 28, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2022

The purpose of this requirement is to acquire services from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support the Office of Applied Research and Safety Assessment (OARSA) Consortium. This OARSA-based consortium is a diverse collaboration with government research partners that will enable the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) to do specifically focused study to address data gaps and to collect on-farm environmental and fresh and raw produce samples. This Consortium was created in FY 2016 with the goal to expand as needed in future years. Currently, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) related activities are focused in programmatic offices and needed research is often missed. This focused consortium within OARSA meets several CFSAN-related needs: • Provides a framework of collaborators that can supply environmental samples (for Office of Regulatory Science’s (ORS) Genome Tracker and for FSMA related activities). • Provide a framework of collaborators/sources for studies to fulfill specific data gaps. This would leverage on-going research and would be cost-effective. • Enhance the ability to revise OARSA’s strategic goals.

Lettuce of a commercial cultivar and of cultivars selected for their enhanced defense response will be planted in the field in Salinas, Califoria. Under objective 1, samples of irrigation water, air, soil, and lettuce will be collected starting at planting (including seeds), at mid-season when overhead irrigation changes to drip irrigation, and again at harvest. The samples will be sent to the FDA, Laurel, Maryland for microbiome analysis. Under objective 2, lettuce of various genotypes will be harvested from the field and processed for fresh-cut lettuce production at ARS, Salinas. The cut lettuce will be transported to ARS, Albany, where it will be inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 and the effect of their genotype on EcO157 survival at 5C will be measured. Additionally, certain components of the plant defense response will be quantified and the microbiome characterized.