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Molecular ecology

Plants are surrounded by an enormous diversity of microorganisms both on the above-ground parts of the plant and in and around its roots. Merely a small part of this diversity, mainly plant pathogens and a few beneficial organisms, such as mycorrhiza and rhizobia, are well-studied. The influence of the rest of the diversity on plant diseases and plant health in general is almost completely unknown. 

We investigate the interaction between plants and this enormous diversity and its influence on plant health.

We study how the plant forms its microbiome to its own advantage,,e.g. by using secondary metabolites exuded from the roots or the leaves, and how the plant in this way prevents disease from developing. We also study the effects of the soil and its microorganisms on plant health and investigate how we can change the microbial composition in a beneficial direction.

Our most important method consists of metabarcoding (next generation sequencing of amplicons), which with a very high solution indicates which microorganisms are present in a given environment and how they change under various influences. We also collaborate with e.g. chemists to investigate plant exudates that affect the biome.