The main focus of the research interest in our lab is on soil-borne pathogens and integration of biological control with other plant disease management methods. Studies include the survey and biology of soil-borne pathogens of field crops. Classical methods as well as understanding the genetic signature of pathogens that help in specific characters such as virulence, spread, survival and resistance are crucial to this pathogen detection and disease management efforts. We look at host-microbes interactions involving tripartite components of host-pathogen-biocontrol agents. The functionalities of Bacillus plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are explored towards the development of new technologies in crop protection and production. Various reports have shown that PGPR have various capabilities that include crop growth promotion, management of crop diseases, plant nutrient use efficiency, and helping in crop survival under stress conditions such as those caused by levels of water and pests. Our lab has interests in technologies that could be derived from PGPR and used in integrated plant disease and input management and for better resiliency of cropping systems. Ongoing studies include the biology of Macrophomina phaseolina, Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium spp. in field crops and the use of biological control as a component of integrated pest management (IPM) to manage diseases caused by these pathogens.
From Left: Sri, Mike, Tony, Jessy, Tanveer, and Lipi