Plant –microbe interactions

Rhizobia are soil bacteria and able to elicit nodules on the roots of their specific host leguminous plants in which they convert atmospheric nitrogen into forms usable by the host plant. It is believed that there is a considerable genetic diversity among soil populations of rhizobia which is important for selection of efficient inoculants strains. However, the population genetic structures of rhizobia are different in the distinct geographical areas and it is important to evaluate the abundance and diversity of rhizobia nodulating different hosts in various areas. We are interested to study on ecology, biodiversity and conservation of our indigenous rhizobia to select more efficient and competitive strains which are suitable for our environmental system.
Endophytic fungi (Neotyphodium spp.) possess many beneficial effects on their grass hosts including resistance to pests, diseases, grazing and environmental stresses such as pH fluctuation, drought and salinity. On the other hand, endophytes produce alkaloid toxins that are harmful to livestock. We are interested to evaluate the diversity of endophytic fungi in relation with their hosts, the evolution of endophyte – grass partnership and ecological factors involved in this symbiosis. We are also concerned to detect the genes related in production of certain alkaloids or other chemical compounds in endophyte- grass coexistence.
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