Our aim is to investigate the microbiome associated with certain plant species, and their interaction with host plants.
This research can provide fungi and bacteria with growth-promoting and plant defense activities, useful to improve the productivity of cultivated species and the conservation of natural plant diversity. The use of endophytic and epiphytic microorganisms as probiotic agents of plants represents an alternative to the use of agrochemicals, and a step forward in plant breeding, thus contributing to a more sustainable agriculture.
We work on the following objectives:
⇒ To explore the microbiome, and in particular the culturoma, of agriculturally used species and wild species adapted to inhospitable environments.
⇒ To select endophytes with probiotic potential in plants for agricultural use, which can be useful as biofertilizers, bioremediation agents or producers of bioactive compounds.
⇒ To study the ecological role of plant-associated microorganisms, focusing on their dynamics in the plant and in the soil, and thus obtain useful knowledge to improve their application in agriculture and in the phytoremediation of soils contaminated by organic and inorganic pollutants.
⇒ To analyze the molecular basis of nitrogen-fixing symbioses, particularly the composition, distribution and phylogeny of bacterial genes involved in nodulation and biological nitrogen fixation in plants.
⇒ To investigate the role of fungal endophytes of plants from marine environments in the habitat adaptation of their natural hosts and agronomic species.
⇒ To study the model system “mutualistic microorganism-plant-insect“: Trichoderma harzianum-Solanum lycopersicum-Spodoptera exigua.