Soil mycobiome diversity and composition in Cacao plantations under different management regimes in Ivory Coast (West Africa)

Nourou S. Yorou
Nourou S. Yorou
project abstract

The project aims at producing high quality data on the diversity and abondance of soil mycobiome in Cacao plantations of Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast (West African) is the largest cocoa (Theobroma cacao) producer in the world with three production regions (East, Centre-Western, and the South-Western). Cacao plantation are subject to different management regimes, including agroforestry systems in the vicinity of natural dense forests. We hypothesized that plantations under long term management regime (old plantations) have an altered structure of soil mycobiome that has led to a decrease in the diversity of soil fungi. Three different management regimes (+ natural forests) from four sites of the ongoing CacaoSAF project (Alliance Bioversity - CIAT), will be considered. At each of the 14 sampling sites, composite soil cores and fine roots will be sampled from a total of 10 cacao trees and from most dominant tree in the dense forests. Mycorrhizal dependence and AMF spores’ identification and density will be performed at the University of Parakou in Benin. Doubled of soil samples will be shipped to the Swedish Agricultural University for metabarcoding (NGS). Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with the farmers of the CacaoSAF tool project to collect information about the age of the plantation, the management regime, productivity over time and the natural forest. For each sample we will fill the metadata form. At the end of the project, the farmers of the CacaoSAF project can appreciate how their management practices affect soil mycobiome. Partner scientists from the Institute National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny will benefit from molecular data and the identification of AMF of the cocoa trees in Ivory Coast. We expect to generate at least one paper in peer-reviewed applied ecological journal or in organisms’ diversity journals. Generated sequence data will be shared with the CacaoSAF tool developed by the Alliance Bioversity-CIAT, as well as on international accessible platforms.