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"Improving yield through modifying interactions at root-soil interface”

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Thursday 30 November 2017, 11:00 - 12:30


Plants are part of complex ecosystems in which reciprocal influences support individual successes. Within the soil, plant roots interact with a diverse range of microorganisms of which many live inside the root as endophytes or in close proximity of it, in the region called the rhizosphere, which is the soil from which the physico-chemical properties are greatly influenced by the root. Many of these microorganisms have plant growth-promoting effects and some of these have found their way into application. We study bacterial strains that promote growth in averse abiotic conditions such as cold, drought and salt and in identifying the underlying molecular mechanisms of growth promotion.

We particularly pay attention to the signal exchange that happens between the roots and bacteria and how this activates plant growth regulatory networks. Additionally, to attract the valuable microorganisms and repel the harmful ones, plants secrete a variety of compounds inside the rhizosphere. Many of these compounds act as signals, whereas others serve as nutrient sources for the beneficial microorganisms. Successful pathogens and pests often use these compounds for their own benefit to establish interactions that are detrimental for the hosts. This is nicely demonstrated by the secretion of strigolactones that serve as attractants for mycorrhizal fungi but also as germination signals for parasitic plants within the family of Orobanchaceae.

In this seminar, I will extent on our activities both about getting insights into strigolactone signaling as well as on the identification of new PGPRs that sustain plant growth in averse abiotic conditions.

Location Jozef Schell Seminar Room
Contact Prof Sofie Goormachtig
VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology