Plants interact with an array of other organisms. Some of these interactions are detrimental to crop yield, others can be beneficial. We focus on those interactions at the root/soil interface, the rhizosphere.
Scholes investigates interaction with plant parasites, such as Striga, with a focus on rice and maize in sub-Saharan Africa, and Rolfe is working on the the oomycete clubroot, a major infection of Brassicas in Europe and North America. The mechanism of innate plant immunity is researched by Ton, with a particular focus on microbial interactions with roots of Brassica and Solanaceous plants. The vast majority of plants undergo interactions with soil fungi (mycorrhiza) and the research of Cameron is providing insight into the physiological significance and manipulation of these interactions for agriculture. The flux of carbon and nitrogen between the soil, microbes and plants, which underpins agriculture and has imporant environmental consequences, is the focus of research by Leake.