AlPlanta

INSTITUTE FOR PLANT RESEARCH

With its basic and applied research AlPlanta contributes to the objectives of environmental protection and user / consumer protection by implementing strategies in many of its projects to replace pesticides with low-side-effects and non-toxic alternatives, or through resistance breeding and / or marker development to optimize plant properties in order to minimize the use of pesticides and to make production sustainable.

AlPlanta is involved in various national and international committees and advisory boards. Furthermore, it is involved in Bachelor and Master Programs of the University of Mannheim, as well as with lectures and internships at the Universities of Heidelberg and Hohenheim. Together with the universities, the training of doctoral students takes place. AlPlanta cooperates with research institutions and universities, as well as with small and medium-sized companies in national and international projects. The institute publishes its results in high-quality journals and disseminates practice-relevant results in workshops and seminars. All applied work takes place in close cooperation with the Rhineland-Palatinate fruit-growing and viticulture industry.

PRIORITY PROGRAMS

HOST-PATHOGEN-INTERACTION

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that global crop yields are reduced by about 20 to 40 percent each year due to infestation by plant pests and diseases. The successful infestation of the host plants requires that the pest can undermine the defense of the plant in order to colonize them. Usually, plants respond to this invasion from the outside. This interaction is again reflected i.a. at the level of gene activities of both the host and the particular pathogen, as well as e.g. also on interactions of host and pathogen proteins. With the aim of developing innovative control methods, we are not only investigating these processes but also the complex interplay of: carriers (for example insects) ↔ pathogen ↔ host.

GENREGULATION

Gene regulation is the regulation of transcription driven by endogenous (e.g., developmental) and exogenous (e.g., environmental) signals, which can lead to differential gene activities. The expression level of a gene is regulated by regulatory DNA sequences or at the epigenetic level. We study these processes with tools from genomics and epigenetics to better understand plant adaptations to environmental conditions and to use the insights gained to develop "fitter" plants and optimized crop protection strategies.

BREEDING TOOLS

Dwindling resources and changing climatic conditions are calling for plant breeding more than ever. Crop plants should become as quickly and efficiently as possible more productive and resistant to biotic and abiotic stress. The further development of breeding tools can make a significant contribution to the accelerated achievement of the stated objectives. We impartially open for new developments and establish them for the cultivation of special crops. Our focus is on molecular markers, tissue culture and genome editing.

The platform technologies of the Priority Programs are used intersecting in all projects. The first two priorities focus on applied research projects, which in the areas of fruit and viticulture give impulses from the practice and develop management strategies for current gardening and viticulture problems. In the research focus on gene regulation, AlPlanta mainly carries out basic research projects, such as to deal with the mechanisms of regulation of gene activities under biotic and abiotic stress. Basic research and applied research are inseparable. Without the broadening of basic scientific knowledge and developments, specialized research can not take place in an economic context.

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