Proteção das Plantas

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Objetivos

The general goal of this research group is to improve the efficient use of production factors integrating two main areas of research: 1) Biology, epidemiology and diagnosis of pathogens and pests and their management and 2) Biology of plant beneficial microbes and its use in agricultural systems.

Research on biology, epidemiology and diagnosis of pathogens and pests as well as their antagonists will be directed as to provide a basis for: phytosanitary certification; designing plant protection measures; preventing spread of aggressive species, and develop sustainable strategies to control pathogens and pests, in crops, forests and in natural landscapes, in anticipation of climatic and cultural practices changes.

The issues addressed by the use of plant beneficial microorganisms are (1) nutrient acquisition and (2) control of biotic or abiotic induced stress. The acquisition of N and P are major concerns. The abiotic stresses to be studied are those associated to heat, salinity and soil acidity. Plant diseases caused by aggressive phytopathogens namely Fusarium  spp. and nematodes, will be dealt within biotic stresses.

Linhas de Investigação

Research Lines

1) Biology, epidemiology and diagnosis of pathogens and pests and their management :

  • Research on biology, epidemiology and diagnosis of pathogens and pests and their antagonists to provide a basis for: phytosanitary certification; designing plant protection measures; preventing spread of aggressive species, and develop sustainable strategies to control pathogens and pests, both in crops, forests and in natural landscapes, in anticipation of climatic and cultural practices changes, and other vulnerabilities.
  • Investigation on molecular characterization of viruses and interactions with hosts, aiming at: understanding mechanisms of virus silencing and engineering plant resistance; investigate molecular relationships to biotic and abiotic vectors to draft strategies to limit severe virus dissemination; development of highly sensitive and reliable diagnostic methods to ensure phytosanitary quality of plant propagation material.
  • Development of concepts and sustainable strategies for integrated production in mediterranean relevant crops (e.g. Olea europaea) aiming at reducing pesticide use thus lowering environment disturbances, meeting societal demands, and insuring economic sustainability.
  • Investigation on molecular characterization of plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN) and plant-nematode interactions, aiming at: understanding phylogenetic relationships, pathway analysis and putative pathogenic genes (“effectors”), and resistance, namely in the pinewood nematode-pine system (pine wilt disease, PWD); development of highly sensitive and reliable diagnostic methods for detection of PPN, in supplement to standard morphological methods; ecology of nematode-microbe systems, namely the pinewood nematode-bacteria interrelationships; biological control of nematodes.

2)Biology of plant beneficial microbes and its use in agricultural systems:

  • Among plant beneficial microbes, chickpea rhizobia are being used as models to investigate the molecular basis of stress response and symbiosis mechanisms as well as genes evolution.
  • In addition, the improvement of chickpea rhizobia strains by transformation with stress response or symbiosis genes is in course.
  • Use of an intact extra radical mycelium developed from native of arbuscular micorriza fungi (AMF) as a strategy to enhance their role in bio control of toxic concentration of metalloids ions in the soil and soil born diseases.
  • Strategies to manage biological and associated functional diversity of native AMF in bio protection of crops.

OUTROS SUB-GRUPOS DE INVESTIGAÇÃO |

  • Laboratório de Nematologia

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