Understanding Streptomyces adaptation to the wheat endosphere


Streptomyces bacteria are best known for making antibiotics, including more than 50% of those used clinically. However, their natural environment is the soil and the rhizosphere (outside) and endosphere (inside) of plant roots where the plants provide food to beneficial bacteria in exchange for growth-promoting benefits and protection against disease. Some Streptomyces strains are important plant growth promoting bacteria and can protect their host plants against biotic and abiotic stress, e.g. fungal disease, drought and salt stress. In this project you will explore the role of these bacteria in bread wheat, a crop which provides 20% of all the calories consumed by humans worldwide. Specifically, you will investigate how and why these bacteria colonise wheat roots and identify Streptomyces strains that provide benefits to plants with a view to using them as plant probiotic bacteria.

You will split your time between the John Innes Centre (with Prof Matt Hutchings) and the Quadram Institute (with Dr Alison Mather). These institutes are world-leading centres of excellence in plant science, Streptomyces biology and microbiome research and they are both located on the Norwich Research Park. You will receive excellent, interdisciplinary training and use cutting edge techniques to characterise the adaptation of Streptomyces bacteria to the wheat endosphere.


Newitt JT, Prudence SMM, Hutchings MI and Worsley SF (2019). Biocontrol of cereal crop diseases using streptomycetes. Pathogens. 8:78.

Worsley SF, Newitt J, Rassbach J, Batey S, Murrell JC, Wilkinson B and Hutchings MI (2020). Streptomyces endophytes promote host health and enhance growth across plant species. Appl. Env. Microbiol. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01053-20

de Oliveira Martins, L., Page, A.J., Mather, A.E. and Charles, I.G. (2020) Taxonomic resolution of the ribosomal RNA operon in bacteria: Implications for its use with long-read sequencing. NAR Genom. Bioinfo. 2, Iqz-16. doi: 10.1093/nargab/lqz016.