In todays world, there is a growing need for biomass for food, feed and fuel. The search for a suite of strategies for sustainable production of biomass is of great scientific, technological and societal interest, and there is a pressing need to identify novel targets that can be manipulated for designing new strategies to enable sustainable crop production at higher intensities with limited water supply and to reduce our dependency on synthetic pesticides. Microbial endosymbionts, endophytes, represent alternative sources of biocontrol agents as they can enhance growth and tolerance to a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses. The objectives of the proposed research project are to uncover the molecular mechanisms of beneficial interaction between the endophytes and the host plant. Specifically, to dissect the mechanism of their interaction by characterizing the mechanisms of initial colonization of the root surfaces, early infection, adaptation inside the hosts, and impacts on host innate immunity and growth. The outcome will generate valuable new knowledge to identify the key functions in plant growth promotion and plant protection. These findings will be useful to develop strategies to increase plant establishment and biomass production, for improved sustainable agriculture, bioenergy feedstock production on marginal lands, or fight desertification of arid areas.The project is novel and ambitious with the state-of-the-art knowledge and methodologies in microbial biofilm, plant cell wall biology and innate immunity in world leading research institution in microbial biofilm research in USA and in integrated plant research in Denmark.
Fields of science
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