Microbes are able to store carbon under suboptimal growth conditions in culture, but the extent to which they store carbon in bulk or rhizosphere soil are not well understood. One stress response observed in microbes is the production of carbon storage granules as a means of trapping the needed carbon in the soil. Understanding the controls on granule formation and the diversity of granule-forming organisms could inform global climate change, since nutrient imbalance, excess carbon and temperature stress have all been implicated in granulation formation in culture, though the extent to which these factors affect granulation in natural environments is unknown. Microbial carbon storage in the rhizosphere represents a possible large, though transient, pool of carbon which impacts plant health, productivity and disease by modulating rhizosphere bacterial activity in times of stress. The work could also lead to applications in fuel storage mechanisms.
Proposer’s Name: Kristen M. DeAngelis