MICRO Plant-Microbe Systems
Head of PA MICRO: Dr Rita Grosch
Research in PA MICRO aims to improve our understanding of plant-microbe-environment interactions for better sustainable cropping systems in horticulture. This will contribute to ensuring sufficient and sustainable production of vegetables to supply more healthy food for consumers and promoting human health and well-being by reducing pesticide and excessive mineral fertilizer use and the associated negative impact on environment. PA MICRO is particularly interested in understanding the effect of abiotic and biotic stress on the plant holobiont. We use ‘omics’ at DNA, RNA and protein level, bioinformatics, molecular biology, phenotyping and modelling to study the structure, function and activity of plant-associated microorganisms and to assess the response of the plant to microorganisms (beneficial and pathogenic) and environmental stress. We carry out studies at both laboratory and field scale. This includes studying the interaction of single microorganisms with plants at laboratory scale and assessing the impact of farming practice on structure and function of the root-associated microbiota at field scale. The plant microbiota, i.e. the microorganisms living in and on plants, has tremendous potential for supporting more sustainable cropping systems (Sustainable Development Goal SDG 12) with low input but high output by improving plant health and productivity (SDG 2 and 3). However, this potential is still largely untapped.
Thereby we contribute to the overall goal of the IGZ to improve our understanding of the interaction between plants and its natural environment. PA MICRO is organized in two Research Groups: RG MICRO.1 “Principles of integrated pest management” and RG MICRO.2 “Beneficial plant-microbe interactions”.