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Jan 27, 2022: GFFA-Expert Panel hosted by ATB: Soil microbial diversity is crucial for plant and planetary health

Plants are the key component of a healthy diet providing food for a fast-growing world population. The plant microbiome and soil microbiome are interlinked, and both crucial for health and functioning of the holobiont. Beyond, they are important for planetary ecosystem functions and health issues.

Many current plant production practices result in pollution and contribute to loss of biodiversity, natural resources, and climate change. In the past, human activities influenced the interconnected microbiomes significantly. These shifts resulted in high pre- and post-harvest yield losses, drug-resistant plant and human pathogens, and a spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This typically depleted microbiome signature of the Anthropocene is often followed by a dysbiosis, which leads to outbreaks of viruses, pests and pathogens.

The panelists will discuss the current knowledge about anthropogenic influences on the plant and interconnected microbiome. The main aim is to inspire the development solutions to restore and save plant- and soil-associated microbial diversity for ecosystem and the closely connected human health. 


     Alfred Grand - Grand Farm & Vermigrand Naturprodukte, Austria

Panel Guests

     Prof. Gabriele Berg - Graz University of Technology and Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy, Austria and Germany

     Prof. Lise Korsten - University of Pretoria, South Africa

     Prof. Kornelia Smalla - Julius Kühn Institut Braunschweig, Germany

     Prof. Marcel van der Heijden - Agroscope and University of Zurich, Switzerland

The Panel is hosted by ATB.

More information: Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2022 (

Contact at ATB: Nina Schwab


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