Professor and Director, Center for Biotechnology
Area of Expertise: Plant Physiology, Weed, and Production Systems, Soil and Water Sciences
B.Sc., University of California, Davis, Agricultural Economics, 1982
M.Sc., University of California, Davis, Plant Physiology, 1988
Ph.D., The Australian National University, Plant Physiology and Genetics, 1992
Area of Focus
Plant Molecular Physiology
Schachtman’s current research focus is on the interaction between plant roots and soil microbes and the genetics of abiotic stress tolerance in plants. Using new DNA sequencing technology, advanced computational analysis and ecological theory, the current work studies how microbes in soils and roots are altered depending on soil stresses. Once patterns are identified the important microbes are cultured and then tested to determine whether they aid plants in tolerating stresses such as drought or low nitrogen. In terms of plant tolerance to abiotic stress the current aims are mainly related to identifying genes or genomic regions associated with tolerance to low nitrogen and drought conditions. The long-term goals of the lab are to provide new previously undiscovered microbes and genes or markers that will improve crop yields and enhance sustainability by allowing farmers to use less water or fertilizer while maintaining high yields.
Major Project Areas
- Sorghum biofuel sustainable systems including the identification of microbes and plant genes/markers that increase productivity on marginal soils.
- Characterization of root exudates in maize to understand how these shape the soil microbiome.
- Phenotyping to identify traits associated with the enhancement of water and nitrogen use efficiency in Camelina and sorghum.
- Soil microbes and their association with plant roots in soybean and native grasslands where alkaline soils exist.
- Nitrogen fixation by bacterial endophytes that colonize plant roots.
Recent Representative Publications
- Wang, P., Marsh, E.L., Kruger, G., Lorenz, A., Schachtman, D.P. (2019) Belowground microbial communities respond to water deficit and are shaped by decades of maize hybrid breeding. Environmental Microbiology online
- Sheflin, A.M., Chiniquy, D., Yuan, C., Goren, E. Brutnell, T., Eveland, A., Tringe, S., Liu, P., Kresovich, S., Marsh, E., Schachtman, D.P., Prenni, J.E., (2019) Metabolomics of sorghum roots during nitrogen stress reveals compromised metabolic capacity for salicylic
- Li, J., Shi, Y., Veeranampalayam-Sivakumar, A., Schachtman, D.P. (2018) Elucidating sorghum biomass, nitrogen and chlorophyll contents with spectral and morphological traits derived from unmanned aircraft system. Frontiers in Plant Sciences, 9:1406.
- McPherson, M.R., Wang, P., Marsh, E.L., Mitchell, R.B., Schachtman, D.P. (2018) Isolation and analysis of microbial communities in soil, rhizosphere, and roots in perennial grass experiments. J Vis Exp (137) e57932.
- Wang, P., Marsh, E. L., Ainsworth, E. A., Leakey, A. D. B., Sheflin, A. M., Schachtman, D.P. (2017) Shifts in microbial communities in soil, rhizosphere and roots of two major crop systems under elevated CO2 and O3. Scientific Reports 7, 15019, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-14936-2.