Costa Group is constructing a scaled-down version of its commercial glasshouse at UNE to house CRC project trials seeking cues to crop stress that can alert growers to act, preventing costly losses.
The ‘Tomato rhizobiome project’, designed to find ways to foster robust microbial colonies in the root zones of hydroponic greenhouse tomato plants, is proceeding well, with initial findings ‘very promising’, says industry partner Costa Group.
For Dr Gal Winter, lecturer and microbiologist at northern NSW’s University of New England, studying the ecology of microbe colonies – most recently, those surrounding tomato plant roots – has been a cross-continental endeavour.
For this IT-pro-turned-UNE-microbiology post-grad, the chance to study the root microbiome of greenhouse-grown tomatoes with Costa Group under the CRC was one too good to refuse.
Hydroponic tomato grower Costa Group and scientists at UNE and WSU will explore microbial diversity in tomatoes’ root zones in a bid to find novel ways to combat disease in humid glasshouse environs.