The proposed research project was organized in three phases, aiming to isolate and identify beneficial microorganisms, i.e., rhizosphere or endophytic bacteria, and soil fungi that can be incorporated into BioChar. The hypothesis is that by bringing these three beneficial entities together, it will promote plant growth (BioChar + soil fungus Trichoderma + Rhizosphere/Endophytic Bacterium = Enhanced Plant Growth).

The project brought together  three major disciplines within the natural sciences – microbiology, agricultural biotechnology and mining/material engineering. It likewise linked basic (microbiology) and applied (agricultural biotechnology, mining/material engineering) research fields and high-income (Germany) and low/middle-income (Philippines) countries. Within the Philippines, the project was shared by a private (UST) and state (UP) universities. Such is the interdisciplinary nature of the Biochar-Trichoderma-Bacteria (BTB) project.


The research project allowed participants from different research fields to work together on a common goal. It also facilitated the research visit of  Thomas Edison dela Cruz to the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research in Germany. As planned, a research publication will be prepared following completion of all data analysis. Results will also be disseminated at international conferences and scientific meetings.

Resulting from work on the project, the monograph “Microbes for Sustainable Agriculture: Isolation and Identification of Beneficial Soil- and Plant-Associated Microorganisms” by Thomas Edison E. dela Cruz, Hannah Jane F. Din, and Jeane V. Aril-dela Cruz was published in 2021. Access the publication here: Microbes for Sustainable Agriculture: Isolation and Identification of Beneficial Soil- and Plant-Associated Microorganisms – SEARCA

Further Information

About the GYA North-South Interdisciplinary Grant

The GYA includes a diverse membership of scientists and scholars, in many disciplines, based in low/middle-income and high-income countries. This grant scheme was initiated in 2014, aiming to foster collaboration across the lines that often separate researchers and limit possibilities. Specifically, this scheme facilitates the development of small-scale, innovative, curiosity-driven, blue-sky, exploratory research pilots or prototypes that unite researchers in low/middle-income and high-income countries and cross disciplinary boundaries.

The North-South Interdisciplinary Grant is awarded annually, and is meant to provide seed money to enable GYA members to prepare a proof of concept, prototype, or pilot research project with a view to securing larger external funding.