Have you ever wondered how plants and fungi find each other? Root-colonizing fungi have a dramatic impact on plant health. Beneficial fungi such as mycorrhizal fungi and some Trichoderma species promote plant growth, supply nutrients, and improve plant stress tolerance. Soil-borne pathogenic fungi provoke devastating yield losses and are highly persistent and difficult to control. For example, Fusarium spp. and Rhizoctonia spp. cause vascular wilt disease and root rot disease, respectively, in a broad host range worldwide.
This project studies perception of plant signals by root-colonizing fungi and the fungal response mediated by the received signals, including colonization of roots and downstream systemic effects on the root/rhizosphere microbiome.