PHI-base, the Pathogen-Host Interaction database is an open access internet resource which provides information on pathogenicity, virulence and effector genes from different pathogens, where the contribution of the genes to pathogenicity has been experimentally tested. In addition, at the request of the international community, negative results obtained from well designed and executed experiments have been included. PHI-base also provides information on commercially used drug targets and variant pathogen gene sequences which lead to drug-resistance / drug insensitivity.
Plant Biology and Crop Science
To carry out world-class plant biology and crop science research that delivers new knowledge, innovation and practices that will increase crop productivity and quality and develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.
Research in PBCS contributes to our Institute themes:
- 20:20 Wheat®: Increasing wheat productivity to yield 20 tonnes per hectare in 20 years.
- Cropping Carbon: Optimising carbon capture by grasslands and perennial energy crops, such as Willow, to help underpin the UK's transition to a low carbon economy.
- Designing Seeds: Harnessing our expertise in seed biology and biochemistry to deliver improved health and nutrition through seeds.
- Sustainable Systems: Designing, modelling and assessing sustainable agricultural systems that increase productivity while minimising environmental impact.
The aim of our work is to identify and characterise genetic solutions for the control of take-all disease in wheat. Take-all is a serious root disease of wheat which is a major constraint during consecutive wheat cropping. The disease is caused by the soil dwelling ascomycete fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici (Ggt) (Freeman & Ward, 2004). The fungus causes black necrotic lesions in the root tissue which restrict the uptake of water and nutrients from the soil (Figure 1).
Head of Department
Dr Malcolm J Hawkesford
Deputy Head of Department
Dr Peter Eastmond
Cell Walls: Rowan Mitchell, Till Pellny
Photosynthesis and Water Use Efficiency: John Andralojc
Plant Architecture: Andy Phillips, Peter Hedden, Stephen Thomas
Plant Nutrition: Malcolm Hawkesford, Peter Buchner
Plant Pathogens: Kim Hammond-Kosack, Kostya Kanyuka, Jon West
Wheat Quality: Peter Shewry
Oil Quality: Peter Eastmond, Smita Kurup, Alison Huttly
Wheat Transformation: Alison Huttly
Signalling: Nigel Halford
Metabolomics: Mike Beale, Jane Ward
Bioimaging: Smita Kurup
Sugar Beet: Belinda Townsend
Department Press Releases
As part of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Innovation Club (SARIC), developed and funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), together with industry partners, scientists at Rothamsted Research are soon to begin work on two major research projects.
A world first for automated measuring of crop growth and health in the field was installed for Rothamsted Research in 2015 by LemnaTec GmbH. This is the world’s largest and most sophisticated facility built today and will revolutionise the way that crop health and growth are monitored in the field. The development of the facility has been supported by Rothamsted Research and the BBSRC.
The results of the GM wheat field trial held by Rothamsted Research in 2012-2013 are published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports today. The data show that the GM wheat did not repel aphid pests in the field as was hypothesised and was initially seen in laboratory experiments conducted by scientists at the Institute.
Rothamsted Research, The James Hutton Institute and a consortium of six partners led by Crop Performance Ltd., and including Spearhead Marketing Ltd., G’s Fresh, Velcourt Group Ltd, Frontier Agriculture Ltd., Burkard Manufacturing, and James Hutton Limited (formerly MRS Ltd.) have been awarded funding from Innovate UK with co-funding from AHDB Potatoes
Scientists from Rothamsted Research , who are strategically funded by the BBSRC, have discovered a mechanism that allows plant cells to regulate the rate at which they produce membranes. The work is published in the journal The Plant Cell.
Collaborative research between scientists at Rothamsted Research, the University of Cambridge, and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology has led to the discovery of a new and unexpected metabolic pathway that helps seeds to maximise the use of their seed storage reserves during seedling establishment.
Employment vacancies - Plant Biology and Crop Science
We are seeking an enthusiastic Bioinformatics Database Engineer to work on PHI-base (www.PHI-base.org), a resource allowing researchers without specialist bioinformatics skills to understand how fungal, bacteria and protist pathogens cause disease in plants, animals, humans and natural ecosystems.
Details of all external vacancies will be posted here as they become available. If you find nothing that interests you this visit, please call again. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to hold CVs against possible future vacancies. We can only accept applications quoting a relevant and appropriate vacancy number.
As users of the disability symbol, Rothamsted Research guarantees to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for our vacancies. For more information click here.
We will aim to provide related internet links but Rothamsted cannot be responsible for their content.
Click here to view employee info sheet
SA2 Catching a lift on the fast root – exploiting mycorrhizal selection of beneficial rhizosphere bacteria from the soil microbiome
Teagasc PhD Walsh Fellowship Opportunity
Intensive agriculture utilising large amounts of agrochemicals is unsustainable and environmentally damaging: other options must be implemented to meet the global food security challenge. Soil microbes benefit crop plants in a number of ways, including improving nutritional status and suppressing disease, but partners and mechanisms are poorly understood and underexploited. Many different bacterial groups are associated with plant health, but the major beneficial plant-fungal interaction is with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), which boost plant growth by extending root systems and supplying nutrients, especially P. An important, but poorly understood aspect of AMF is their interaction with other microbes in the mycorrhizosphere. We propose that AMF are an important conduit, bridging soil pores and facilitating plant-beneficial bacteria to gain access to roots, either on hyphal surfaces or within hyphae. This project aims to better understand the tri-trophic interactions between exemplar host-plants, AMF, the wider soil microbiome, soil fertility and physical structure. It will involve both next generation sequencing and manipulative experiments, with the aim of developing site-appropriate management strategies potentially including mixed microbial inocula, and a long-term goal of contributing to sustainable intensification of agriculture.