Beverley Harris



College: College of Life and Environmental Sciences
Discipline: Biosciences
Department: Plant and Microbial Science
Research Centre/Unit: Plant and Fungal Molecular Biology

Interaction between plants and beneficial fungi has held interest for over twenty years where it has been shown that the ubiquitous free living saprophyte, Trichoderma hamatum, can promote plant biomass by up to 3-fold.  However, crop loss attributed to phytopathogens reduce yields and profits. Coupled with additional costs of fertilizers and biocides, the agricultural industry are in need of a solution that address both plant growth promotion (PGP) and biocontrol ability (BCA). Here, we have shown that a strain of Trochoderma hamatum is capable of providing both biocontrol and biofertilizer qualities. Recent experimental data show that when T. hamatum is applied to the soil (2.67% w/w) plant viability is significantly increased when co-inoculated with the necrotrophic ascomycete Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. By analysing both plant and fungi genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes; much can be learned about the mechanisms of which this happens and so increase the bioavailability of crops for general consumption in a more environmentally sustainable way.

Take a look at the 'Systems Biology' video clip filmed within our lab: