The unseen majority: soil microbiomes in agro-ecosystems

06 Aug 2019

As her CABANA secondment draws to a close, Valeria Faggioli, a Post-Doctoral student at The National Institute of Agriculture Technologies (INTA), Argentina, presented the results of her CABANA secondment at European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) on soil microbiomes in agro-ecosystems. A unique aspect of the project was access to soil samples that have had the same agricultural practices applied for long periods. Valeria used her time at EMBL-EBI, in Rob Finn’s research group, to develop the bioinformatics understanding and skills to identify the different bacterial and fungal species present using their DNA sequences. She has concluded that the crop being grown has the biggest effect on bacterial and fungal communities, much more than whether the soil is tilled, or fertiliser used.
Valeria says of her secondment ‘I’m a microbiologist, so a challenge was to learn the bioinformatics side. I now know how to process the raw data and I understand how the tool MGnify (a tool to analyse, discover and compare microbiome data) actually works. I’m a totally different scientist now!’ Valeria is returning to INTA with an enthusiastic commitment to share her new knowledge with colleagues and to teach her students.