(former MICRO 1 – Principles of Integrated Pest Management)
Environmental stress is responsible for significant yield and quality losses in crop production systems. Plant-associated microorganisms have a decisive influence on plant health, e.g. by inducing a higher tolerance to both biotic and abiotic stress. By providing nutrients, microorganisms can also improve plant growth and productivity. However, the potential of plant-associated microorganisms is still largely untapped in practice.
BIOTIC 1 aims to improve the understanding of the interaction between plants and microorganisms and thereby support the application of beneficial microorganisms in plant production systems. On a field scale, we are investigating the impact of agricultural practices on the structure and function of plant-associated microbial communities, particularly in the rhizosphere, and their effects on plant health and productivity. Of particular interest is how the microbial community in the rhizosphere influences plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
On a laboratory scale, we use experimental systems with model plants to decipher the precise interplay between abiotic (drought) and biotic (especially soil-borne fungal pathogens) stresses, plant microbiota, health and productivity.
By improving our understanding of the impact of plant-associated microorganisms on the plant, BIOTIC 1 contributes to the Institute's overall goal of supporting the development of more sustainable horticulture.