Plant protection of the future may come from the plants themselves

Humans and animals all have chemical and microbial signatures that influence their well-being in one way or another. In medicine, the use of probiotics rather than antibiotics has become high on the agenda. However, humans and animals are not the only ones who have a close relationship with their microflora. Plants exhibit similar relationships with their environments too. Just as they do in humans, microbes play a major role in plant health and resistance to plant diseases.

At Aarhus University in Flakkebjerg, Denmark, researchers are studying plants, plant health, and plant diseases caused by microbial pathogens. The ability of plants to fight microbial pathogens such as bacteria and fungi is, to a large extent, determined by plant genes that regulate plant defense capabilities. In a new study, researchers from AU Flakkebjerg have studied how plants with different resistance traits interact with their microbes to respond to pathogen attacks.

The research is published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum.

"We have investigated what happens in plants when they are attacked by a pathogen. What changes occur in the plant itself as well as its associated microbial communities (i.e., microbiome) during a pathogen attack? What makes some plants resistant while others are not? To answer these questions, we explored the interaction between plant chemical compounds and the plethora of microbial communities associated with the plant. This is not really a new research area, but by applying new and modern technologies in this study, we have been able to get a much more detailed insight into what is actually going on in terms of interactions between plant chemicals and microbes," says Assistant Professor Enoch Narh Kudjordjie, one of the lead researchers from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University.


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