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Christopher Penton

Christopher Penton

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science and Mathematics, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

crpenton@asu.edu

480-727-5738

College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus
6073 S. Backus Mall
Mesa, AZ 85212

Titles

  • Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science and Mathematics, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Biography

 

C. Ryan Penton is a microbial ecologist whose research covers a broad range of ecological issues. In particular, Penton focuses on the mechanisms behind suppression of crop disease and how the soil microbiome can be manipulated in order to improve crop production in a sustainable fashion. Along those lines, his research also addresses how the soil microbiome responds to different crop management strategies, thus deciphering strategies that may improve overall soil health. In addition, he is also interested in the nitrogen cycle, particularly denitrification and nitrogen fixation, and how changes in these N-functional communities caused by continuous crop management impact the fate of fertilizer N and the subsequent plant response. His research also addresses changes in soil microbial communities and their functional guilds under climate warming in rangeland and permafrost systems, with a particular interest in how the impacts on nitrogen cycling communities alter N availability as a "latch" for carbon decomposition.

Within the context of agriculture, Penton also researches the impact of biochar addition to varying soils on the soil microbiome under bioenergy crops in order to establish whether biochar serves as a stable carbon input that increases soil fertility. To address these issues Penton utilizes next-generation high-throughput platforms for the targeted sequencing of functional genes as well as shotgun metagenomics, direct culturing, quantitative PCR, and stable isotope probing. His overall goal is to decipher the intimate connections that exist between soil fungi and bacteria and biogeochemical cycling as well as plant disease processes.

His work encompasses collaborative relationships with international partners from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia and Nanjing Agricultural University (China).

Education

  • PhD, Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, 2008
  • MSc, Wetland Biogeochemistry, University of Florida, 2004
  • BSc, Microbiology, University of Florida, 1998

Expertise

Journal Articles

In Press

Xue, C., C. R. Penton, Z. Shen, Q. Huang, I. Rong, R. Yunze and Q. Shen. Manipulating the banana rhizosphere microbiome for the rehabilitation of severe Panama disease incidence. Scientific Reports

Zhang, B., C. R. Penton, C. Xue, Q. Wang, T. Zheng and J. M. Tiedje. Evaluation of the Ion Torrent PGM for gene-targeted studies using amplicons of the nitrogenase gene, nifH. Applied and Environmental Microbiology DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00111-15. (link )

2015

Penton, C. R., D. St. Louis, A. Pham, J. R. Cole, L. Wu, E. A. Schuur, J. Zhou and J. M. Tiedje. 2015. Denitrifying and diazotrophic community responses to artificial warming in permafrost and tallgrass prairie soils. Frontiers in Microbiology: Terrestrial Microbiology 6:746. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00746. (link )

2014

Penton, C. R., J. L. Deenik, B. N. Popp, G. L. Bruland, P. Engstrom, J. Mueller, A. Worden and J. M. Tiedje. 2014. Assessing nitrogen transformations in a flooded agroecosystem using the isotope pairing technique and nitrogen functional gene abundances. Soil Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Soil Research 179(1):2-10. DOI: 10.1097/SS.0000000000000038. (link )

Penton, C. R., V. S. Gupta, J. M. Tiedje, S. M. Neate, K. Ophel-Keller, M. Gillings, P. Harvey, A. Pham and D. K. Roget. 2014. Fungal community structure in disease suppressive soils assessed by 28S LSU gene sequencing. PLOS One 9(4):e93893. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093893. (link )

2013

Penton, C. R., J. L. Deenik, B. N. Popp, G. L. Bruland, P. Engstrom, D. St. Louis and J. Tiedje. 2013. Importance of sub-surface rhizosphere-mediated coupled nitrification-denitrification in a flooded agroecosystem in Hawaii. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 67:362-373. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.10.018. (link )

Sull, W. J., S. Asuming-Brempong, Q. Wang, D. M. Tourlousse, C. R. Penton, Y. Deng, J. L. Rodrigues, S. G. Adiku, J. W. Jones, J. Zhou, J. R. Cole and J. M. Tiedje. 2013. Tropical agricultural land management influences on soil microbial communities through its effect on soil organic carbon. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 65:33-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2013.05.007. (link )

Vital, M., C. R. Penton, Q. Wang, V. B. Young, D. A. Antonopoulos, M. L. Sogin, H. G. Morrison, L. Raffals, E. B. Chang, G. B. Huffnagle, T. M. Schmidt, J. R. Cole and J. M. Tiedje. 2013. A gene-targeted approach to investigate the intestinal butyrate-producing bacterial community. Microbiome 1(1):8. DOI: 10.1186/2049-2618-1-8. (link )

Presentations

2015

Gupta, V. S., C. R. Penton and J. M. Tiedje. 2015. Edaphic and plant associated factors regulate diazotroph diversity and function in Australian soils. Presentation at the BAGECO 13: 13th Symposium on Bacterial Genetics and Ecology, 14-18 June 2015, Milan, Italy. (link )

Penton, C. R. 2015. Natural disease suppression of Rhizoctonia solari AG8 in Australian cropping systems: Drivers of spatial heterogeneity. Presentation at the Nanjing Agricultural University, (invited), Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.

Penton, C. R. 2015. Natural disease suppression of Rhizoctonia solari AG8 in Australian cropping systems: Drivers of spatial heterogeneity. Presentation at the Xinglong Tropical Botanical Garden Spice and Beverage Crop Research Institute of China, Tropical Agriculture Research, (Invited), Datang, Hainan Province, China.

Penton, C. R., J. R. Cole, L. Wu, E. A. Schuur, J. Zhou and J. M. Tiedje. 2015. Denitrifying and diazotrophic community responses to artificial warming in permafrost and tallgrass prairie soils. Presentation at the Genomic Science Contractors– Grantees Meeting XIII, 22-25 February 2015, Washington, DC. (link )

Yu, J., S. Crow, J. L. Deenik, L. Deem and C. R. Penton. 2015. The effect of biochar amendment on microbial community composition. Presentation at the ASM 2015: American Society for Microbiology 115th General Meeting, May 30-June 2, 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana. (link )

2014

Penton, C. R., J. Yu, J. M. Tiedje and V. S. Gupta. 2014. Soil sample size affects fungal and bacterial community structure and richness: New insights using high throughput sequencing. Presentation at the Grand Challenges: Great Solutions - ASA, CSSA, & SSA International Meeting, 2-5 November 2014, Long Beach, CA. (link )