A unique opportunity to share scientific, technical and regulatory information with the objective to promote knowledge exchange among scientists, companies, farmers, advisors, policy makers and stakeholders, to identify approaches, tools and techniques to meet the future needs of European crop protection. 


FiereCongressi Spa - Parco Lido, Riva del Garda - Italy

Corné Pieterse

Professor Plant-Microbe Interactions - Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Corné Pieterse

Corné Pieterse

Curriculum Vitae and research interest in short 

Corné Pieterse is professor Plant-Microbe Interactions and scientific director of the Institute of Environmental Biology of the Faculty of Science. His research group investigates how the plant immune system protects plants against microbial pathogens and insect herbivores, and how beneficial microbes in the plant root microbiome stimulates plant growth and health. Worldwide, plant diseases and pests cause yield losses of up to 25%. With their research, the Plant-Microbe Interactions group aims to contributes to grand societal challenges, such as food security and sustainable agriculture.

Presentation title

Unearthing plant-beneficial traits of the root microbiome for sustainable crop protection

ABSTRACT - Plants nurture a large community of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) that provide them with essential services, such as enhanced mineral uptake, growth promotion, and protection from pathogens. These plant microbiota are predominantly hosted by the root and can be selected for by the plant, e.g. via root exudates. Our research is focused on understanding plant-beneficial functions that are encoded by the root microbiome and the role of plant genes that facilitate these functions. In recent years, we demonstrated that in response to foliar pathogen infection, Arabidopsis roots recruit a specific consortium of synergistic microbes to their rhizosphere that in turn trigger a broad-spectrum induced systemic resistance (ISR). We discovered that such PGPR-ISR is associated with priming for accelerated defense-related gene expression, which only becomes apparent after pathogen attack, providing a cost-effective mechanism of protection. In contrast to leaves, roots reprogram the expression of a large set of genes in response to colonization by PGPR. We identified the root-specific transcription factor MYB72 as a central regulator of the onset of ISR. Current research is focused on understanding early root-microbiome interactions with the ultimate goal to develop future crops that are better able to maximize profitable functions from their root microbiome.