M. Sc. Sneha Gulati
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Control of plant diseases using beneficial microbes under abiotic stress
In their natural habitat, as well as during horticultural production, plants are commonly faced with multiple stresses, like pathogens and salt or dro...
2015 to present – PhD student with Dr. Rita Grosch and Dr. Max Bernhard Ballhausen
In my Master dissertation I have worked on mass propagating critically endangered species of medicinally important herbs, Picrorhiza kurroa and Swertia chirayita, both of which are endangered herbs and nearing extinction. The effects of various abiotic and biotic elicitors on the in-vitro production of metabolites were studied. Application of biotic elicitors was seen to enhance the metabolite production by several folds, which made me more curious about the plant-microbe interaction and how that interaction can be exploited for human benefit.
After my Master’s, I joined Division of Microbiology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, where I worked on a project entitled “Role of Archaebacteria on the Alleviation of Salinity and Moisture Stress”. Rann of Kutch, India, which is a salty marsh, is inhabited by a wide variety of flora and fauna, despite of such extreme conditions. It was hypothesized that the microbes, inhabiting in the area might play a role in the establishment of vegetation in such extreme environments. Studies were conducted on halophilic archaea and plant interaction under salinity stress and bio-inoculants were designed to enhance crop growth and production.
Here, at the IGZ, I will be focusing on studying the interactive effects of combined biotic and abiotic stress in plants. The disease Verticillium wilt, caused by Verticillium dahliae will be studied under salinity stress in the tomato plant. Many studies till date have focused only on the individual stresses, but in nature, plants are often challenged with a combination of stresses which occur simultaneously. Most endophytic bacteria are considered as a source of potential biocontrol agents against pathogens, since they share the same niche, and many of them possess properties which can help alleviate stressful abiotic conditions. However, the main focus would be on investigating the changes occurring in the composition of naturally existing root microbiome in tomato, and how the presence of the combined stress affects their diversity, population and the functions of the microbial root inhabitants. Also, differential root exudate production driving the community assembly, under combined stress will be studied which would help design better stimulants to alleviate the stress.
Comparison of different inoculum methods for infection with Verticillium dahliae and Fusarium oxysporum.
Gulati, S.; Grosch, R.; Ballhausen, M.B. 2016. Comparison of different inoculum methods for infection with Verticillium dahliae and Fusarium oxysporum. IOBC-WPRS Bulletin 117, 226.