Plant microbe interactions from a different perspective

Plants growing in natural environments engage in close interactions with a wide variety of microbes, which have important effects on plant health. We now know that a stable microbiota (i.e. microbes associated with plant tissues) can control plant diseases and maintain host health. But, how do they do this? How do plants start interacting with the surrounding microbes? How do they differentiate the beneficial from the pathogenic ones? These and many other questions remain unresolved in my research field, and we have decided to approach them from a different perspective. Do you want to know how? Watch the video!



Planter’s Punch

Under the heading Planter’s Punch we present each month one special aspect of the CEPLAS research programme. All contributions are prepared by our early career researchers.

Further Reading

Thiergart, T., Durán, P., Ellis, T. et al. Root microbiota assembly and adaptive differentiation among European Arabidopsis populations. Nat Ecol Evol 4, 122–131 (2020).


Durán, P., Thiergart, T., Garrido-Oter, R., Agler, M., Kemen, E., Schulze-Lefert, P., & Hacquard, S. (2018). Microbial interkingdom interactions in roots promote Arabidopsis survival. Cell, 175(4), 973-983.


About the author

Paloma Durán is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, in the group of Integrative Bioinformatics, led by Rubén Garrido Oter. The researchers combine development of computational methods with experimental work. Thereby, they are interested in designing new methods for analyzing microbial community data using omics data, but also developing new experimental approaches to understand the interactions between photosynthetic organisms and microbes.

During her PhD, Paloma worked in the lab of Paul Schulze-Lefert, under the supervision of Stéphane Hacquard, where she investigated the role of microbe-microbe interactions for plant health and also the environmental factors that shape plant-associated microbial communities in nature.