1. Assess the importance of plants to the selection of bacterial catabolic genes and operons
    2. Assess the distribution of RIT elements in nature and their role in bacterial gene rearrangement
    3. Contribute to our understanding of plant-beneficial bacterial interactions.

Hypotheses to be tested in the short term:

    1. RIT elements are common in the global 3CBA degrader collection and found associated with the CCD genes on genomic islands
    2. RIT elements are common in bacterial endophytes from other sources
    3. The global 3CBA degrader collection is comprised of plant growth promoting strains
    4. Endophytes from unique study locations harbour novel catabolic elements.