Enhancing biological control

Endophyte in ryegrass
Theme Leader: 

We are characterising endophytes and novel toxins produced by fungal and bacterial pathogens.

We will investigate the basic mechanisms and genetic drivers that characterise useful endophytes, and novel toxins produced by fungal and bacterial pathogens. This is divided into two projects:

Project 4. Enhancing beneficial endophytes

The research will address two key biological questions:

  1. How do plants restrict the growth of fungal endophytes to maintain mutually beneficial symbiotic interactions?
  2. How do fungal endophytes suppress the plant host immune system to avoid a host defence response?

Project 5. Enhancing microbial-based biological control

This project will address four key biological questions:

  1. Are there ecosystem-specific pathogens with different virulence attributes?
  2. Do non-pathogenic strains influence the efficacy of an applied biocontrol agent?
  3. How are accessory genes that encode virulence lost, transferred or maintained?
  4. What is the role of mutation “hotspots” in virulence changes?