Extensive use of agrochemicals is emerging as a serious environmental issue coming at the cost of the pollution of soil and water resources. Bioremediation techniques such as biostimulation are promising strategies used to remove pollutants from agricultural soils by supporting the indigenous microbial degraders. Though considered cost-effective and eco-friendly, the success rate of these strategies typically varies, and consequently, they are rarely integrated into commercial agricultural practices. In the current study, we applied metabolic-based community-modeling approaches for promoting realistic in terra solutions by simulation-based prioritization of alternative supplements as potential biostimulants, considering a collection of indigenous bacteria. Efficacy of biostimulants as enhancers of the indigenous degrader Paenarthrobacter was ranked through simulation and validated in pot experiments. A two-dimensional simulation matrix predicting the effect of different biostimulants on additional potential indigenous degraders (Pseudomonas, Clostridium, and Geobacter) was crossed with experimental observations. The overall ability of the models to predict the compounds that act as taxa-selective stimulants indicates that computational algorithms can guide the manipulation of the soil microbiome in situ and provides an additional step toward the educated design of biostimulation strategies. IMPORTANCE Providing the food requirements of a growing population comes at the cost of intensive use of agrochemicals, including pesticides. Native microbial soil communities are considered key players in the degradation of such exogenous substances. Manipulating microbial activity toward an optimized outcome in efficient biodegradation processes conveys a promise of maintaining intensive yet sustainable agriculture. Efficient strategies for harnessing the native microbiome require the development of approaches for processing big genomic data. Here, we pursued metabolic modeling for promoting realistic in terra solutions by simulation-based prioritization of alternative supplements as potential biostimulants, considering a collection of indigenous bacteria. Our genomic-based predictions point at strategies for optimizing biodegradation by the native community. Developing a systematic, data-guided understanding of metabolite-driven targeted enhancement of selected microorganisms lays the foundation for the design of ecologically sound methods for optimizing microbiome functioning.
- metabolic modeling
- microbial degradation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Modeling and Simulation
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications