Synthetic community [SynCom] transfer for the restoration of disrupted beneficial phyllosphere microbiomes

Paul Devlin (primary)
Biological Sciences
Royal Holloway University of London
Dr Ken Bruce (secondary)
Institute of Pharmaceutical Science
King's College London


We have shown that the plant immune response causes a dramatic disturbance of the above-ground “phyllosphere” microbial community. Functional modelling of the impact of this change predicts a negative cost to plant health as a result. This project aims to test this impact, examining disease resistance in the crop plant, Brassica rapa, in which immune pathways are triggered through hormone application, and to examine the effects of SynCom supplementation via the application of either representative beneficial or disrupted microbial communities. The ultimate goal would be the development of a complementary agricultural solution for microbiome restoration following disease outbreak.


Martin, M. J., Zain, N. M. M., Hearson, G., Rivett, D. W., Koller, G., Wooldridge, D. J., Rose, G., Gharbia, S. E., Forbes, B., Bruce, K. D. & Harrison, T. W. [2020] The airways microbiome of individuals with asthma treated with high and low doses of inhaled corticosteroids. PLoS ONE. 15, e0244681
Koller, G., Foschi, F., Witherden, L., Mitchell, P., Bruce, K. & Mannocci, F. [2020] Amoebae in Chronic, Polymicrobial Endodontic Infections Are Associated with Altered Microbial Communities of Increased Virulence. Journal of Clinical Medicine. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 3700
Cuthbertson, L., Walker, A. W., Oliver, A. E., Rogers, G. B., Rivett, D. W., Hampton, T. H., Ashare, A., Elborn, J. S., De Soyza, A., Carroll, M. P., Hoffman, L. R., Lanyon, C., Moskowitz, S. M., O’Toole, G. A., Parkhill, J., Planet, P. J., Teneback, C. C., Tunney, M. M., Zuckerman, J. B., Bruce, K. D. & Van Der Gast, C. J. [2020] Lung function and microbiota diversity in cystic fibrosis. Microbiome. 8, 1, 45
Gadhave K..R*, Devlin P.F.*, Ebertz A., Ross A. & Gange A.C. [2018] Soil Inoculation With Bacillus Spp. Modifies Root Endophytic Bacterial Diversity, Evenness, and Community Composition in a Context-Specific Manner. Microbial Ecology 76:741
Patel, V. C., McPhail, M. J., Zamalloa, A., Stoy, S., Vijay, G. K. M., Witherden, E., Lee, S., Shoaie, S., Huang, X., Rogers, G., Choo, J., Zia, R., Edwards, L., Gray, E., Woodhouse, C. A., Gencer, S., Cohen, M., Wendon, J., Erhlich, S. D., Bruce, K. & Shawcross, D. L. [2018] Improvement in Hepatic Encephalopathy with Rifaximin Is Associated with Distinct Changes in the Metagenomic Species in the Saliva and Stool Microbiome and a Reduction in Systemic Inflammation – Results of the Rifsys Randomized Controlled Trial. Hepatology. 68, 6, 1462A-1463A

Plants, microbes, food and sustainability
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BioinformaticsSimulation / Modelling