Microbial biodiversity associated with eukaryotic hosts is increasingly recognized as providing benefits to human and plant health because it can suppress pathogens. We are especially interested in the functional role of stress protection mediated by antagonistic microorganisms; their activity is important in all habitats to avoid pathogen outbreaks and protect the host against all kind of abiotic stresses (e. g. drought, salinity, cold). Moreover, we are focusing on plant-related issues, such as food quality and indoor microbiology. We are studying host-associated microbiota at different levels: at microbiome level as well as at single microbe level using model systems. By linking data from both it is possible, to get novel insights into the interplay of microorganisms with its eukaryotic hosts.
"Our overall objective is to understand plant-associated microbiomes to improve human and ecosystem health"
Microbial biodiversity can be maintained or partially restored by biocontrol approaches. Therefore, we translate our results into biotechnological innovations, e.g. into microbiome managementstrategies including biocontrol towards pathogens. Plant-associated microbiomes contain due to their specificity a hitherto largely unexplored potential for biotechnology, f.e. many bioactive substances including volatiles that we discover using metagenomics and metabolomics approaches.
Institute of Environmental Biotechnology Graz University of Technology