Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Manipulating plant metabolomic profiles by seed and plant cutting treatments to enhance plant protection against western flower thrips

How can we manipulate the biotic and abiotic environment to increase thrips resistance in tomato and chrysanthemum? More specifically we ask:
How can plant secondary metabolites that are not soluble in water be delivered to plants in seed coating or root dipping treatment?
Can bacteria be used to trigger the JA signaling pathway in plants?
Can light treatments be used to trigger the JA signaling in plants?

2015  -   2019
Peter Klinkhamer
STW Perspective GAP STW Perspective GAP

Rijk Zwaan
Dümmen Orange
Dekker Chrysanthen

In this project we will develop methods to manipulate the biotic (microbial community) and abiotic environment (light quality and quantity) to increase plant resistance against pests and pathogens.

Pest resistance strongly depends on plant secondary metabolites (PSMs). Breeding programs mostly aim at increasing the levels of desired plant PSMs constitutively. In addition to this constitutive defence we can increase the level of relevant PSMs by administering them to seeds or seedlings or by induction of the plant signaling pathways. For thrips resistance especially the jasmonate (JA) pathway is relevant. For tomato we observed that in a highly resistant variety resistance was not fully developed during the first two weeks of plant growth. Because thrips is a vector of viruses it is extremely important that even the very young plant stages are well protected. The objective of this proposal is to develop methods for enhancement of resistance by (1) dipping cuttings and coating seeds with PSMs (2) induction of PSMs through activation of defence signaling pathways by (2) light treatments and (3) by non-pathogenic bacteria. We will use chrysanthemum and tomato as models for ornamentals and vegetables respectively. Parts 1-3 will be run in parallel while combinations of treatments will be conducted in the last year.

Connection with other research

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