Vision and Objectives

 
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“Root of the Matter” Vision: A Knowledge Center for Leveraging the Root Zone for Modern Agriculture

The main objective of the "Root of the Matter" Knowledge Center is to serve as an umbrella organization that unites and incorporates a number of research projects focusing on the root zone of agricultural crops, with an emphasis on grafted vegetables. The “Root of the Matter” Knowledge Center addresses novel research questions, from the biological fields of physiology, genetics, microbiology and metabolomics, whose solutions require multi-disciplinary, integrative R&D work by several different research groups.
This knowledge will be used to leverage Israeli research capabilities and will be applied by pioneering companies for the benefit of local agronomists, as well as in agricultural operations worldwide. The tools and the knowledge that will be developed can propel Israeli R&D into a leadership position in the field of root zone research, which will enable sustainable agriculture that is adapted to the predicted increase in both world population and food demands, alongside climate and environmental changes.
In order to achieve this goal, the "Root of the Matter" program brings leading researchers from different research fields and from three research institutes (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Agricultural Research Organization) together with researchers from local R&D centers and leading Israeli agro-technology companies.
The “Root of the Matter" Knowledge Center comprises three research projects. One is a long-term (six years) and the others are short term (three years). Project A focuses on building a system to test the tolerance of roots and to find optimal scion–rootstock combinations, through measuring these grafted crops’ morphological-metabolic–molecular and physiological performances and testing their adaptation to arid lands. In this long-term project, experiments are conducted on common platforms used for both continuous and non-continuous monitoring of the root zone of tolerant rootstocks with the addition of biological growth intensifiers. Project B focuses on the development of decision-making based on monitoring and models in order to achieve optimal agricultural production in relation to the economic input. Project C works on developing microbial solutions and testing the efficiency of their implementation using an irrigation system for the improvement of crop and plant tolerance.