PhD thesis defence Ana Shein Lee Diaz: Impact of microbial inoculants and volatiles on microbe-plant interactions

PhD thesis defence Ana Shein Lee Diaz: Impact of microbial inoculants and volatiles on microbe-plant interactions

Event

On Wednesday 27 March 2024, Ana Shein Lee Diaz will defend her PhD thesis, titled 'Impact of microbial inoculants and microbial volatiles on belowground microbe-plant interactions', at Leiden University.

This thesis aims to investigate the effect of tripartite interaction between microbial inoculants, the plant, and herbivore insects on the rhizosphere microbiome and volatilome. Lee Diaz investigated the rhizosphere microbiome and volatilome of tomato plants exposed to insect herbivory and/or inoculated with beneficial microbes. First, she reviewed the abiotic and biotic factors that impact the success of microbial inoculants (Chapter 2). Then, she tested microbial inoculants against different stresses and experimental conditions to compare interactions in variable contexts (Chapter 3). Next, the research team explored the impact of insect herbivory aboveground, on the volatile and microbial belowground compartment. In Chapter 4 she explored root volatiles under stress in two tomato species to evaluate the genotype impact on the stress-induced root volatilome. In Chapter 5, she studied the impact of endosymbiotic fungi arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on root volatiles in a in vitro bioassay and in a greenhouse setup with herbivory-stressed plants. In Chapter 6, Lee Diaz compared the effect of four phylogenetically diverse bacteria and fungi, inoculated as single-species and as synthetic community, on the rhizosphere microbiome assembly and volatilome in herbivory-stressed plants. Overall, this thesis delves into overlooked interactions providing novel data on belowground plant-microbe interactions.

Her promotors are NIOO scientists Jos Raaijmakers and Paolina Garbeva.

More information can be found on the university's website.