Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NL

Paolina Garbeva is a senior scientist and a research group leader at the Department of Microbial Ecology, at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). She is a microbiologist by training with a strong affinity for Microbial Chemical Ecology and Plant-Microbe Interactions. She obtained her PhD from Leiden University, the Netherlands in 2005.The focus of her current research is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of microbial chemical interactions and communication. Secondary metabolites (both volatile and water-soluble) play an important role in microbial interactions, e.g. as signaling compounds for communication or as suppressive agents in interference competition. Using omics-based tools, advanced analytical chemistry and novel imaging techniques, her research aims to decipher, explore and exploit the so far unknown belowground microbe-microbe and plant-microbe chemical interactions and communication.

Talk: Deciphering belowground microbe-microbe and plant-microbe chemical communication
Outline: Research on soil and plant microbiomes has increased exponentially over the last ten years, revealing the tremendous diversity of microbial communities. At the same time, our knowledge concerning the chemical interactions in the soil, between microbes and between microbes and plants is still rudimentary. Plant and microbe derived compounds play an important role in belowground interactions, e.g. in signalling and interference competition. Both plants and microorganisms produce and secrete a wide variety of primary and secondary metabolites including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and non-volatile exudates. In my talk, I will present our recent discovery of the ecological role of VOCs in the long-distance belowground microbe-microbe and microbe-plant interactions. Furthermore, in this presentation I will reveal the importance of microbial VOCs in soil fungistasis and disease suppressiveness.

Session 1: Exploring Interactions within Phytobiomes
Tuesday 4 December