Biome Makers Blog

Matching maize and soil microbiome to boost seed production


A new project in fields4ever

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia & Corteva, will take action to recover the soil health through the project matching Maize and soil Microbiome to boost seed yield and quality.

Project explanation

Samples required and project description

This project is comprised of 200 soil samples, which have been granted as part of the fields4ever Initiative.


This project will provide data to investigate how soil health and characteristics shape maize-microbiota interactions impacts hybrid seed performance.


BeCrop technology will be applied to sampling 4 inbred lines, 3 with different types of yield/quality issues plus a stable one of 20 farms across the Po valley (the “Italian corn belt”) chosen based on a proprietary database as representative of different weather conditions/soil features.



  • Determinate the dominance of fungal or bacteria microorganisms.
  • To analyze how soil health and characteristics shape maize-microbiota interactions and drive hybrid seed performance.
  • To associate different soil microbial populations to specific maize seed yield and quality traits.

Corteva Agriscience™

Corteva agriscience™ is a major agriscience company completely dedicated to agriculture, based in the USA. They offer agricultural services like seed and traits, crop protection, seed treatments, forages, inoculants, pasture, vegetation, and urban pest management among others.

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

Based in the heart of the Emilia Romagna region, UNIMORE has a longstanding tradition (founded in 1175) and is considered one of the best universities for teaching and research in Italy. It is ranked 2nd among public universities according to Italy's leading financial daily, and among the top 8 medium-sized Italian universities by the Times Higher Education Ranking.

Heads of the project

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Associate professor in Agronomy and Crop Science, he is the Principal investigator of the Crop Production group since 2014. He firmly believes that a balance of research efforts between genomics and the applied agricultural sciences will be a key driver of change affecting the global sustainability of food and farming. Only with a strong link between research on agronomy, soil science, plant breeding, and plant physiology, the contribution of genomics to future crop production will reach expectations.

Corteva Agriscience - Italy

Production Research Sr. Agronomist. He has several years of experience in production and research applied to seed crops, in an international context. He works on constantly improving the seed production process for corn and other industrial crops in the Southern European region. Committed to advancing sustainability in agriculture, he’s currently pursuing an industrial Ph.D. program with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, about the study of corn root microbiome.

Ph.D. Federica Caradonia

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

Postdoctoral Researcher.

She is interested in plant-soil microorganism interactions and sustainable management of horticultural crops (such as processing tomatoes and potatoes).


“BeCrop, by providing us with a set of key indicators, will help us to understand how microbes impact on soil biosustainability, health and nutrition and, in turn, corn performance.”

Dr. Roberto Gatti  - Corteva Agriscience - Italy