University of Applied Sciences Erfurt - Faculty of Business, Logistics and Transport

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Plant-microbe interactions in sustainable crop production

Like in all multicellular organisms, a multitude of microorganisms can be also found in horticultural crops. Bacteria and fungi colonizing the roots support water and nutrient uptake of plants, affect their development and increase resistance and tolerance against biotic and abiotic stresses. Due to these characters, microorganisms are regarded as important factors in sustainable plant production management systems saving resources and avoiding synthetic pesticides or growth regulators to a large extend. For successful application, the genotype of the plant and the microbial community colonizing the plant and its surrounding play important roles.

Beside resistance against pathogens, the response of plants to microorganisms does only rarely play a role in breeding programs of horticultural crops. However, molecular analyses have shown that numerous genes play a role in these interactions. In addition, plant responses like improved water and nutrient uptake and in consequence, improved growth are traits easy to be quantified. Therefore, the analysis of populations of plants with different genotypes should lead to molecular markers which could be used for breeding of new cultivars suitable for sustainable production systems. Moreover, genes can be identified which are involved in positive responses to microbial root colonization.

The performance of plants is determined by the community structure of microorganisms colonizing different plant tissues. It is important to know, if the plant has an influence on the composition of this community structure. The comparison of different cultivars and their wild progenitors as well as of particular genotypes produced by genetic engineering concerning their microbial communities could be used for following these questions. By sequencing and network analyses with parallel isolation and cultivation, bacteria and fungi can be identified which play a stabilizing role in microbial communities. Subsequently, interactions between microorganisms and the impact of synthetic microbial communities on the performance of horticultural crops will be analyzed and tested.

Supported by

grant number: FGK-02/2018


Research group leader

Prof. Dr. Philipp Franken

phone: +49 361 6700-3426
e-mail: philipp.franken@n o - s p a m



Verena Ferda

phone: +49 361 6700-3451
e-mail: verena.ferda@n o - s p a m

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