Dr Davide Bulgarelli
Senior Lecturer / PI.
Plant Sciences, School of Life Sciences
+44 (0)1382 385405
James Hutton Institute
Plants host remarkable rich and diverse microbial communities in proximity of and within their tissues, designated the plant microbiota. Intriguingly, these associations appear symptomless at first glance, possibly representing a series of mutualistic or symbiotic relationships. Interestingly, experiments performed under laboratory conditions revealed that members of the microbiota provide strategic functions to the plant, such as enhanced mineral acquisition and indirect pathogen protection. However the role and function of the microbiota in a community context is still largely unknown.
My group aims at understanding the structure, function and host control of the microbiota thriving at the root-soil interface. (Figure 1).
We use Barley (Hordeum vulgare, Figure 2 ) as a model to unravel the contribution of the microbiota to plant growth and health. Towards this objective we use state of the art metagenomics, molecular microbiology and computational biology approaches. By exploiting the experimental and molecular resources available for barley, such as mutants, accessions, and -"omics" tools, we aim to integrate our findings into a plant genetic framework.
Our ambition is to gain fundamentally novel insights on the molecular interactions existing between an eukaryotic genome and its associated microbiome. In our vision the generated knowledge will be key to exploit plant-microbiota relationships for the sustainability of barley and other crop production.
Figure 1 - The rhizosphere and root microbiota ( modified from Hirsch & Mauchline Nature Biotechnology 30, 961-962 (2012)).
Figure 2 Barley plant
Figure 3 Pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene revelaled an impact of different barley accessions on the rhizospehre and root microbiota.
I teach molecular plant-soil microbes interactions in the Level 3 course BS32008 ( Plant Sciences) and the Level 4 course BS42005 ( advanced Plant Sciences).
After conducting a field trial at a tomato farm near Ravenna, Italy, a team of plant pathologists and agronomists found that nitrogen fertilizers shape the composition and predicted functions of the plant microbiota.
Dr Davide Bulgarelli from the Division of Plant Sciences has been awarded tenure.
Crop genomics for food security, sustaining human and environmental health