Plant-microbe interactions describe a broad range of scientific studies concerning how microbes interact with plants at the molecular biology and molecular genetics level. Plants and microbes can have a variety of interactions including pathogenic, symbiotic and associative – all of which impact plant productivity, stress tolerance and disease resistance.
As it pertains to Noble Research Institute research, the study of microbes encompasses viruses, fungal pathogens, endophytes (fungi) and mycorrhizae (fungi). The application of this research typically concerns traditional forage crops – both grasses and legumes – and research in model plants such as Medicago truncatula, a legume.
Noble Research Institute researchers seek to understand the variables involved in determining the outcomes of these plant-microbe interactions. From this knowledge, new plants or plant-microbe combinations may be created to overcome negative environmental factors and crop productivity limitations or capitalize on beneficial, symbiotic relationships to produce plants that are more heat and drought tolerant and can better use nutrient fertilizers.