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Independent project: Root microbiota

Animals and plants form complex symbiotic communities with microorganisms, the so-called microbiome. Humans are colonised by a large number of beneficial organisms. In the intestine in particular, the so-called gut microbiota plays an important role in human health. Plants also possess “microbiota”, that is, microorganisms that live in harmony with plants to contribute nutritionally and defend the plant against pathogens.

The animal (including human) intestine comprises different segments. Each of these segments has a specific function, different metabolic activities, and various physiological and genetic differences. Such variation results in differential microorganism colonisation in each segment of the intestine.

In our recent publication, we revealed that similar to the guts of animals, spatial organization of the microbiota exists along the longitudinal axis of the root. In good accordance, differential accumulation of plant metabolites and metabolic activities also exist along the root. Using a multiomics approach, we identified three SWEET sugar transporters that contribute to the distribution of sugar and other metabolites along the root. These transporters are necessary for the spatial colonisation by root bacteria. These findings can contribute to optimising microbial communities to improve plants’ protection from pathogens, leading to better plant health.

In the next step, the project aims to understand the spatial colonisation of the host microbiome in finer detail, investigating the communication between microbes, and decoding the complex metabolic network between microbes and host.

Available positions: Positions are offered for Bachelor and Master theses.

Eliza Loo


Dr. Eliza Loo
Gebäude: 26.14
Etage/Raum: 00.104
+49 211 81-41608