Areas of expertise
- Applied Informatics
- Carbon, Climate and Risk
- Soil Resources
- Sustainable Land Systems
Tom studied for a integrated masters in human biology at Staffordshire university with a specialism in microbiology. Tom’s projects focused on antibiotic producing soil fungi and the plant-bacterial interactions in the rhizosphere of indoor plants for the removal of indoor air pollutants (volatile organic compounds) hazardous to health in connection to sick building syndrome. Much of this work has recently become of interest to several local authorities across the Midlands of the UK, with green walls being constructed for the removal of vehicle pollution and carbon sequestration.
Tom then undertook a PhD at the university of Hertfordshire entitled ‘A Comparison of Tillage Techniques on Selected Soil Microbes Within the Rhizosphere of Wheat’, focusing on symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi and mycorrhizal helper bacteria between different soil types, as well as differently managed arable soils.
Tom has spent nearly 2 years in DEFRA, before moving to Cranfield, where he worked on the methods of disease transmission between oak trees, the interactions of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria and oak germination, as well as the early ectomycorrhizal colonisation of germinating oak. Tom then changed research focus to antimicrobial resistance, within DEFRA, in livestock and was able to develop a novel approach to increase the recovery of extracted DNA for improved molecular sequencing.
Tom’s current work at Cranfield investigates the interaction of tree seeds treated with bacterial species for the reduction of seed dormancy and uniform germination.
Improving tree seed and establishment to support Agroforestry and on-farm sustainability. (2022 - 2024), in collaboration with Elsoms Seeds Ltd., funded by InnovateUK and Defra.
Understanding the seed physiology of a range of tree and hedgerow species and developing seed treatments to support direct establishment in the field.
Articles In Journals
- Wilkes TI (2023) Alternative inks for arbuscular mycorrhizal root staining, Access Microbiology, 5 (8).
- Wilkes TI (2023) Ergosterol extraction: a comparison of methodologies, Access Microbiology, 5 (4) Article No. 000490.v4.
- Wilkes TI, Warner DJ, Edmonds-Brown V, Davies KG & Denholm I (2021) The tripartite Rhizobacteria-AM fungal-host plant relationship in winter wheat: impact of multi-species inoculation, tillage regime and naturally occurring Rhizobacteria species, Plants, 10 (7) Article No. 1357.
- Wilkes T & Warner DJ (2021) An evaluation for the medium-term storage and viability of root cortex tissues stained with blue ink in the assessment of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Access Microbiology, 3 (11).
- Wilkes TI, Warner DJ, Edmonds-Brown V, Davies KG & Denholm I (2021) Zero tillage systems conserve arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, enhancing soil glomalin and water stable aggregates with implications for soil stability, Soil Systems, 5 (1) Article No. 4.
- Wilkes TI (2021) Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agriculture, Encyclopedia, 1 (4) 1132-1154.
- Wilkes TI, Warner DJ, Davies KG & Edmonds-Brown V (2020) Tillage, glyphosate and beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: Optimising crop management for plant–fungal symbiosis, Agriculture, 10 (11) Article No. 520.
- Wilkes TI, Warner DJ, Edmonds-Brown V & Davies KG (2020) Species-specific interactions of bacillus innocula and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi symbiosis with winter wheat, Microorganisms, 8 (11) Article No. 1795.
- Wilkes TI, Warner DJ, Edmonds-Brown V, Davies KG & Denholm I (2019) A comparison of methodologies for the staining and quantification of intracellular components of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the root cortex of two varieties of winter wheat, Access Microbiology, 2 (2).