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  2. Clusters

Plant-Microbe Interaction

The plant-microbe interaction cluster advances and utilizes knowledge from basic and applied research on beneficial and pathogenic microbes to enhance productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems.


The purpose of the plant-microbe interaction cluster is to foster collaboration among researchers working on plant-microbe interactions across the three research divisions (Plant Biology, Forage Improvement and Agricultural). This cluster is an avenue to learn about the ongoing research at the Noble Research Institute in the areas of pathogenic and symbiotic plant-microbe interactions associated with the Forage 365 pillar species (alfalfa, bermudagrass, tall fescue and winter wheat), model plant species (e.g., Medicago truncatula) and other commodity crop species (e.g., pecan). Several Forage 365 projects explore the interaction of beneficial symbiotic plant microbes with tall fescue, wheat and bermudagrass, as well as Phymatotrichopsis root rot, a disease that greatly reduces stand life and profitability in alfalfa. The cluster organizes several workshops and symposiums in the area of plant-microbe interactions. Some of the workshops organized include: plant-microbe interactions symposium (March 2017), microbiome symposium (October 2016), metagenomics workshop (September 2016) and plant-microbe interactions symposium (March 2015).

Associated Projects

  • Discovery of the pecan scab pathogen sexual cycle
  • Identify and characterize plant genes in nonhost disease resistance
  • Identify and characterize plant genes involved in Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation
  • Integration of endophytes into elite tall fescue lines
  • Omics approach to understand the disease resistance and susceptibility to Phymatotrichopsis root rot fungus (Phymatotrichopsis onmivora)
  • Optimize or improve virus-induced gene silencing in crops such as sorghum and cassava
  • Root microbiome studies and its impact on plant defense
  • Symbiont and pathogen genomics
  • Translational research to confer biotic stress tolerance in crop plants
  • Utilize geospatial data to understand the development of Phymatotrichopsis root rot disease in alfalfa production fields