Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Josh Puzey & Ron Smith

Committee Members

Dana Willner

William Soto


The UN estimates that the global population could reach 9.7 billion by 2050 (United Nations). As a result, the amount of food required to feed humanity is thought to double by 2050 (Ray et al., 2012). Humanity must find a way to increase crop production without increasing fertilizer usage and eutrophication, which can be done using the soil microbiome. Using potted plants with soils inoculated with Pseudomonas alcaligenes, Pseudomonas denitrificans, Bacillus polymyxa, and Mycobacterium phlei, both the shoot and root growth of pea and cotton plants was significantly increased (Egamberdieva & Höflich, 2004). In this study, utilizing a random forest model, the presence or absence of inflorescences of an Asclepias (milkweed) plant was predicted using the soil microbiome as an input with 64% accuracy on test data. Euryarchaeota, Acidobacteria, and Chlorobi were identified as the most important phyla in predicting the presence of inflorescences.