Department of Pathophysiology
Research activities are focused on physiological, biochemical and molecular aspects of microbial plant diseases in order to understand the mechanisms of plant disease resistance and susceptibility. One of the crucial topics is the induction of plant resistance against bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens. Disease resistance can be induced in plants by various pretreatments that do not include direct antimicrobial effects but enhance plant natural resistance against pathogens. Induced resistance was found to be associated with induction of defense-related hormones, changes in cellular redox balance and levels of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants or induction of defense-related enzymes. These studies provide a better understanding of plant defense mechanisms that may lead to the development of new, disease-resistant crop cultivars.
    Plants also possess an array of preformed antimicrobial compounds that act directly against pathogens. Numerous antibacterial compounds were isolated from medicinal herbs such as chamomile and identified by chromatography, bioautography and mass spectrometry methods. Biological and molecular characterization of important plant pathogens, such as Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria, Plum pox virus and new, resistance-breaking strains of Tomato spotted wilt virus is also in focus.
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