This project investigates the relationship between the Phytophthora pathogen that causes kauri dieback, Phytophthora agathidicida, and two other Phytophthora species which are commonly found in the soil surrounding diseased trees, Phytophthora multivora and Phytophthora cinnamomi.
This research aims to understand if these pathogens interact with each other and contribute to the devastating disease known as kauri dieback. Here research focuses on the proteins secreted by the pathogens and how these influence their interactions.
The initial experiments conducted on agar plates showed unexpected results, with colonies of the both the same and different species actively avoiding each other. Research then moved to analysing the proteins secreted by the three pathogens during co-culture using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.
Based on findings from this part of the research, the current focus is on understanding how these proteins impact the growth of the various Phytophthora species on leaves of the model host plant, Nicotiana benthamiana.