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Valeria Lacouture

Valeria Lacouture
Project Title: 
Plant microbe interactions between Brachypodium distachyon and Fusarium oxysporum across seven accessions
Program Year: 
Samuel Hazen

This summer I worked as a research assistant in the Hazen Lab along with various graduate students. My project focused on the plant microbe interactions between Brachypodium distachyon and Fusarium oxysporum Fo. 47. B. distachyon is a model system for functional genomics in grasses, due to its small and highly homozygous genome size, close relativity to wheat, and rapid life cycle. Fusarium oxysporum, specifically the strain Fo 47, is ideal in this experiment because it is nonpathogenic, endophytic, and is known to have growth-promoting properties. The goal of the project was to observe the response in each of the seven accessions of Brachypodium distachyon to the fungal strain, Fo 47. We did this by first vernalizing seeds of each accession to increase the chance of germination before planting. We then made fungal cultures to inoculate the plants with, and four weeks post-inoculation, we were able to image the plants, create a macro demonstration, and take the areas of each individual plant with said macro. The experiment showed that accessions Bd21 and Spa-S6d displayed a significant increase in above ground biomass, meaning that the fungus directly affected the plant’s growth in a positive manner. I am very appreciative of this opportunity and look forward to continuing my research on this project in the Hazen Lab, where I will be able to section the roots in order to get a clear visualization of the fungus living inside the plant root.