CBGP collaborates with two companies (Genomics4All and Symborg SLU) to develop new metagenomic technologies and contribute to more sustainable agricultural production

The METAS project is a national grant by the Public-Private Collaboration call from the State Research Agency and its financially supported under the "NextGenerationEU"/PRTR funds of the European Union.

A CBGP research group, led by Jaime Huerta-Cepas, a Scientific Researcher of INIA-CSIC at CBGP, is participating with Genomics4All and Symborg SLU in the METAS project, funded by the Spanish Research Agency. The goal of this innovative project is to implement more precise and efficient metagenomic technologies allowing detailed crop microbiona dynamics characterization, with the aim of promoting more sustainable agricultural production.

METAS project showcases a strategic alliance between Genomics4All, a company that emerged from the UPM business incubator (ActuaUPM), Symborg SLU, part of Corteva multinational, and CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC), a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence. These prestigious entities will combine their knowledge and experience in (meta)genomics, microbiology, and sustainable agriculture to develop cutting-edge tools and techniques that allow for an understanding and utilization of the potential of crop microbiota to improve productivity and reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

Metagenomic technologies are used to analyse complex microbial communities present in soils and roots/leaves of crops, providing a detailed insight into the diversity and function of crop associated microorganisms. With these technologies, we will work on developing more efficient and sustainable agricultural strategies, such as the use of agrobiological products, fertilizer use optimization or identificacion of fertilizer and pesticide biobased replacements.

METAS project will be carried out over the next three years with a multidisciplinary approach, including the generation of experimental data in agricultural production conditions in the CBGP's new automatic plant phenotyping platform (E2P2). The research teams of Genomics4All, Symborg and CBGP will work closely to collect this experimental data and develop innovative solutions that promote sustainable agricultural production.

The METAS project is part of the CBGP-SOLUTIONS strategic innovation and technology transfer program's CBGP3 action (CBGP Public-Private Partnership initiative) at CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC). The program aims to accelerate the transfer of knowledge generated at CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC) to the productive sector. In addition, the METAS project will contribute to generate useful knowledge for the HORIZON Europe MISSION Healthy Soils.

This publication is part of the advertising of the CPP2021-008717 reference project, funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by Next Generation EU funds under the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan.



The CBGP (UPM, INIA/CSIC) is a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence that belongs to the network of Severo Ochoa Centers and María de Maeztu Units of Excellence (SOMMa). The CBGP is internationally positioned as one of the most advanced reference centers in the area of ​​agriculture and plant biotechnology. The mission of the CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC) is to carry out fundamental and strategic research within the field of plant biology and microorganisms that interact with plants. The research carried out by the different groups of the Centre is aimed at understanding, from a multidisciplinary point of view, essential processes such as the development of plants, their interaction with the environment and the molecular mechanisms that regulate plant nutrition. Likewise, the CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC) develops new tools for computational biology and genomics to achieve these objectives. The acquisition of basic biological knowledge is essential to combat the challenges facing agricultural and forestry production and should contribute to the development of new biotechnological solutions. The CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC) also plays a relevant role as an educational institution, being a reference centre for the training of young scientists and Master's and Degree students in the areas of Plant Biotechnology and Genomics.