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I work on chemical communication of plants e.g. with parasitic plants and the microbiome; strigolactones, Striga, germination, metabolomics; rhizosphere signalling
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Title Excerpt Date Posted
Role of Strigolactones in the Host-Specificity of Broomrapes and Witchweeds

Root parasitic plants of the Orobanchaceae, broomrapes and witchweeds, pose a severe problem to agriculture in Europe, Asia, and especially Africa. These parasites are totally dependent on their host for survival, and therefore their germination is tightly regulated by host presence. Indeed, their seeds remain dormant in the soil until a host root is detected […]

July 1, 2023
Maize resistance to witchweed through changes in strigolactone biosynthesis

Maize (Zea mays) is a major staple crop in Africa, where its yield and the livelihood of millions are compromised by the parasitic witchweed Striga. Germination of Striga is induced by strigolactones exuded from maize roots into the rhizosphere. In a maize germplasm collection, we identified two strigolactones, zealactol and zealactonoic acid, which stimulate less […]

January 5, 2023
ERC Proof of Concept grant to control witchweed infection in maize

Harro Bouwmeester received a Proof of Concept Grant funded by the European Research Council (ERC) for the project LGSMAIZE. With this grant we will test whether it is possible to genetically modify African maize genotypes so they become resistant to parasitic witchweeds. This can be an enormous asset in the fight against witchweed. The parasitic […]

September 19, 2022
The tomato cytochrome P450 CYP712G1 catalyses the double oxidation of orobanchol en route to the rhizosphere signalling strigolactone, solanacol

Strigolactones (SLs) were initially discovered as germination stimulants that induce the seed germination of parasitic plants of the Orobanchaceae (Striga, Alectra, Phelipanche and Orobanche genera). Half a century after this intriguing biological discovery, it was demonstrated that SLs are actually beneficial for plants, as they induce hyphal branching in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Another 3 yr later, SLs were revealed […]

July 9, 2022
The role of strigolactones in P deficiency induced transcriptional changes in tomato roots

Background: Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for plant growth and development. Upon P shortage, plant responds with massive reprogramming of transcription, the Phosphate Starvation Response (PSR). In parallel, the production of strigolactones (SLs)—a class of plant hormones that regulates plant development and rhizosphere signaling molecules—increases. It is unclear, however, what the functional link is […]

November 3, 2021
Special Issue Metabolites “Integration of Metabolomics with Other Omics Technologies to Investigate Metabolism and Signaling in Plants”

Plants constantly adapt their metabolism and signaling to survive in a highly dynamic environment. In the past few years, the integration of metabolomics and other omics technologies such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics has accelerated our understanding of plant metabolism and plant signaling and their role in the interaction between plants and their […]

April 28, 2021
Adaptation of the parasitic plant lifecycle: germination is controlled by essential host signaling molecules

Parasitic plants are plants that connect with a haustorium to the vasculature of another, host, plant from which they absorb water, assimilates, and nutrients. Because of this parasitic lifestyle, parasitic plants need to coordinate their lifecycle with that of their host. Parasitic plants have evolved a number of host detection/host response mechanisms of which the […]

April 26, 2021
Plant Physiology Focus Issue on Parasitic Plants

Parasitic plants connect to the vasculature of a host plant and take part or all of the water, nutrients, and assimilates they need to complete their life cycle. Parasitic plants represent a unique model for the evolution of intra-kingdom parasitism with intriguing research questions such as how plants were able to evolve the ability to […]

Plant Physiology Focus Issue on Parasitic Plants

Parasitic plants can connect to the vasculature of a host plant from which they take part or all of the water, nutrients, and assimilates they need to complete their life cycle. This parasitic lifestyle required that these parasitic plants evolved host detection, host attachment, host exploitation, and host defense suppression strategies. The elucidation of these […]

January 8, 2020