The secret smell of plants - How we can use it for plant phenotyping
Dr. Jörg-Peter Schnitzler
(Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany)
Title: The secret smell of plants - How we can use it for plant phenotyping
Date: July 24th 2020 / Time: 14:00 (Berlin Time) / 7.00 AM (CDT)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can mediate biotic interactions between plants, fungi/bacteria and insects. All partners involved in these interactions emit broad and complex spectra of these compounds. The ecological significance of these volatile substances is currently being intensively investigated. Despite all scientific gaps, it is becoming increasingly clear that volatile compounds play a central role in communication between organisms and are essential for the adaptation of plants to changing biotic and abiotic environmental factors.
The webinar will provide an overview of the current state of knowledge and will describe the promising opportunity of VOC phenotyping as a rapid and non-invasive measure of phenotypic dynamics. The basic principle is to define the disease resistance and stress tolerance of plants, which in turn will help to improve plant performance and yield. The webinar will show which possibilities are conceivable in the application of this new phenotyping technique in modern agriculture and forestry.
Dr Schnitzler studied biology in Tübingen, Germany (PhD in 1992) with a focus on plant physiology and plant biochemistry. The time as a young postdoc fellow in Munich has awakened his interest in tree stress physiology and environmental simulation. At a Fraunhofer Institute for Atmospheric Environmental Research, he became interested in biosphere-atmosphere exchange and discovered the fascinating world of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their significance for the chemistry of our atmosphere and for the communication (the “chemical alphabet”) between living organisms. Since his return to Munich, he has been supervising one of the most advanced phytotron facilities and is building new phenotyping platforms for the study of plant genotype-environment-microbe (G x E x M) interactions. Currently, his lab investigates volatile and non-volatile metabolomic networks in plants and microbes under stress and the biological and ecosystemic functions of VOCs.