Welcome Katja

Katja Stengele obtained her MSc degree from the University of Bern. She will investigate the underlying mechanisms of Arabidopsis growth feedbacks to soil microbes in her PhD.


Specific and conserved patterns of microbiota-structuring by maize benzoxazinoids in the field

In the work led by Selma Cadot we show that Benzoxazinoids, a class of defensive root exudate compounds, function in selectively structuring the assembly of root and rhizosphere microbiotas across different field conditions. Have a look at the video abstract. mehr


Microbiome diagnostics for sustainable agriculture

We are grateful to the Gebert Rüf Foundation for project support to work on improving field inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Special thanks got to Julia Hess (Agroscope) and Dr. Natacha Bodenhausen (FiBL) driving this project with many, many helpers. Have a look at our final impact clip. mehr


Plant chemistry and food web health

Did you ever think about phytochemicals being systemically relevant? In this article, we took perspective of a food web and we highlight the role of bioactive phytochemicals in linking soils, plants, animals and humans and discuss their contributions to systems health.



New Plant Room

In our plant room at Bernoullianum we started to use the new lightchambers. We have 3 Percivals with humidity / light and temperature control and 2 Percivals with only light and temperature control. All together we have a total area of over 10m2 to grow plants under specific conditions.


Welcome Lea

New postdoc in the plant microbe interaction group! Lea Stauber has recently completed her PhD working on lifestyle evolution of Cryphonectria fungi in the group of Prof. Daniel Croll at the University of Neuchatel. Lea will work on establishing RNAseq in the group and investigating Arabidopsis’ responses to microbiota feedbacks.


Introducing our Pheno Box

The PhenoBox allows the automated quantification of 3D plant growth phenotypes in a non-invasive way. It automatically captures images of a plant from different angles and measures with an underlying image analysis algorithm over 200 phenotypic features (more details here). The PhenoBox was constructed following the publicly available construction plans and source code initially developed by Czedik‐Eysenberg et al. (2018, New Phytologist).

Thanks, Jan Wälchli! Special credits got to Daniel Lüscher and Lukas Zimmermann from our Department for their great support constructing the Phenobox!


Welcome Henry

Henry Janse van Rensburg joins the plant microbe interaction group as postdoc. He has recently finished his PhD on the interplay of metabolism and sugar signaling during biotic stress in the group of Prof. Wim Van den Ende at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Henry will work on the SNF project ‘Plant Responsiveness to Microbiota Feedbacks’.


Relative qPCR to quantify colonization of plant roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Here we describe the development of a method that measures colonization levels of plant roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi using quantitative PCR. Photograph: roots colonized with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, stained in blue (credit: Julia Hess).”


Block Course 2020 'Plant Biology' on Instagram

In case you missed our first Instagram story. Thanks and credits to Jana Tischer and Joëlle Zweiacker, DUW.


Block Course 2020 'Plant Biology’

The motivated and interested undergraduate students perform exciting experiments and learn about the fascinating field of 'Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions’. This part of the block course takes place in the large teaching laboratory of the Biocentrum.
More pictures...

News 2

miCROPe 2019 –Emerging research priorities towards microbe-assisted crop production

In this perspective article, we carved out research priorities towards successful implementation of microbiome knowledge for modern agriculture.


Evaluation of primer pairs for microbiome profiling of diverse compartments

We evaluated the performance of commonly recommended PCR primer pairs on microbiome samples along a model food chain, including soils, maize roots, cattle rumen, and cattle and human faeces. Primer pair choice directly influenced the estimation of community changes within and across compartments and may give rise to preferential detection of specific taxa. This work demonstrates why a standardized approach is necessary to analyse microbiomes within and between source compartments along food chains.