Exploiting induced resistance for trait enhancement in hydroponically-grown crops

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Science


Fruit and vegetables represent a major source of food worldwide. However, pathogenic infection alone means more than one third of these products fail to reach the customer. Several economically important crops are grown largely in soil-less/hydroponic systems that can enhance production in a sustainable manner. However, hydroponic cultivation can encounter challenges with controlling pathogens. Current methods of control depend on the use of chemicals that are increasingly regarded as unsustainable. Therefore, it is urgent to develop alternative strategies to control diseases in a safe, environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Research that exploits the plant's immune system to confer protection against diseases provides a sophisticated source for future IDM.

The use of plant defence elicitors (i.e. agents of different origin that activate mechanisms of resistance) has recently emerged as a safer approach to reduce crop waste to diseases. Besides, little is known about the potential side effects of elicitors in nutrient intake, plant growth, fruit quality or their performance in more intensive commercial settings. In addition, our understanding of the molecular plant mechanisms of action is limited, which hinders their potential application to a wider market. Importantly, key aspects such the application methods, concentrations and formulations enhance the level of complexity for a successful implementation in hydroponic systems.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2266923 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 30/09/2019 30/09/2023 Katie Stevens