Novel Methods for Phytosequestration Workshop

ARPA-E held a workshop on Novel Methods for Phytosequestration on July 23-24, 2015 in Chicago, IL. Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses present a growing challenge for agricultural production, forest ecology, and environmental sustainability.  Solutions to these problems are essential for continued social and economic development.

This workshop convened thought leaders in plant biology, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, biogeochemistry, computational analytics, and emerging imaging technologies to determine the most promising methods to enhance terrestrial carbon sinks. The organizers seek expert input on technical and systems solutions that can increase carbon capture, lengthen carbon storage, and decrease fertilizer and water inputs to improve the carbon budget of biofuel production. 
Areas of interest and targeted outcomes included:
  • Identification of appropriate target feedstocks, current state of carbon cycle science, and technologies to promote soil health and sustainability for biofuel production. 
  • Formulate milestones of success to launch an ARPA-E project

Thank you for your continuing interest in the workshop and program development.  Additional information provided would be greatly appreciated by the program design team. Please see the following sheets for topics of interest or feel free to contact with any other suggestions: 

Plant and Microbial Traits Worksheet Soil/Plant Traits Worksheet Imaging Technology Characteristics Worksheet  

ARPA-E Phyto-sequestration Workshop

Thursday, July 23, 2015

8:45 – 9:00

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Ellen Williams


9:00 – 9:15

Workshop Introduction: Overview and Objectives (15 min)

Joe Cornelius

9:15 – 11:00

Root Physiology and Root Ideotypes (45 min)

-   Root physiology, activity, the role of roots in soil health

-   Challenge: water productivity and carbon and nutrient cycles

-   Designing the perfect root system

-   Q & A


Coffee Break with Light Snacks (15 minutes)


Genetics and microbial influence:  (45 min)

-   What is known about root genetics to date, model species, extension to other species

-   Carbon allocation

-   Plant breeding and traits that control the microbiome

-   How do different root exudates affect the microbiome and soil nutrient cycling


Jonathan Lynch

Kathleen Brown


Gerald Tuskan

Jan Leach

11:00 – 11:45


Technology Toolbox: (45 min)

            -  Soil Chemistry, Optics, Low Field Magnetic

Cristine Morgan

Eric Seibel
(U. Washington)

Matthew Rosen
(Harvard / MGH) 

11:45– 12:15

Lunch (30 min) 


12:15 – 2:00


Technology Toolbox: (30 min)

      - GPR/MM, Thermoacoustic

Coffee Break and Dessert (15 minutes)

Leveraging Industrial and Medical Phenotyping Tools (20 minutes)

     -   Towards an integrated understanding of the plant and plant-environment interactions

FutureRoots – a systems solution to root phenotyping (30 minutes)

      - X-Ray imaging of roots

     - Team organization/ successes of the FutureRoots program


Scott Macintosh
(Black Cat Science)

Amin Arbabian (Stanford)


          Chris Topp


 Tony Pridmore
Part 1
Part 2
(U. Nottingham)

2:00 – 2:30

Straw Model, Breakout instructions, pairing for breakout, coffee (30 min)

Joe Cornelius

2:30 – 3:45

Breakout Session 1 (Assessing the ARPA-E straw model):
(Note that Breakout Sessions 1 and 2 files are grouped together in the below links) 

A. Signature Ballroom
B. Winchester Room
C. Artistry Room
D. Leander Room

3:45 – 4:00

Coffee Networking break (15 min)

4:00 - 5:30



Breakout Session 2: Plant and Soil 

E.    Plant-Microbe-Soil (Signature Ballroom)
F.    Plant-Microbe-Soil (Winchester Room)
G.    Soil-Plant-Microbe (Artistry Room)
H.    Soil-Plant-Microbe (Leander Room)



ARPA-E Phyto-sequestration Workshop

Friday July 24th, 2015

8:00 – 8:30


8:30 – 9:00

Readout from Day 1 Breakouts


9:00 – 9:15

Instructions for Day 2 Breakout

9:15– 10:45

Breakout Session 3 (90 min)

 (Developing specific solutions to the challenge identified on Day 1)

I. Signature Ballroom

J. Winchester Room

K. Artistry Room

L. Leander Room

10:45 – 11:15


11:15 – 11:45

Breakout read out and group discussion

11:45 – 12:00

Summary of workshop

Joe Cornelius

12:00 – 1:30

10 minute one on one meetings between workshop participants and ARPA-E staff (optional)