B3.3: Rhizosphere as fungal barrier to reach plant roots

Gerhard Braus & Cara Haney

Verticillium spp., which are soil-borne fungal pathogens, have to compete with numerous microbes in the rhizosphere before reaching their host plants. Various growth effects of different individual Pseudomonas spp. on these fungal pathogens have been examined in co-cultures under different environmental conditions (Nesemann et al., AMB, 2018; Harting et al., Front Microbiol, 2021). This study will be expanded by examining combinations of Pseudomonas spp. cultivated together with the fungal pathogen to determine the potential for bacterial biocontrol (with Prof. Cara Haney, UBC). In addition, mutual responses of fungus, bacteria and plants will be compared. The contribution of fungal signal transduction pathways or the protein degradation machinery for these interactions will be monitored by using corresponding mutant strains and by determining changes in fungal transcriptomes, secretomes, development and the production of secondary metabolites in comparison with wildtype.