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Seeds, Stress and Pathogens

The overall aim of the seed research within the institute is to better predict seed physiological quality and seed health by means of two complementary objectives. One objective is to understand the adaptations that confer upon seeds the ability to cope with abiotic stress, including stress imposed by the dry state, during maturation, germination, and seedling establishment. In particular, the teams are internationally recognised for their studies into the molecular and cell biological mechanisms leading to tolerance of desiccation, cold, and hypoxia. The second research objective is to understand the mechanisms of transmission of seed-borne pathogens to and by the seed and the adaptative mechanisms enabling these pathogens to survive on seeds and on the host plant. This research will, in addition, help improve our knowledge of the phylogeny and evolution of bacteria associated with plants. An ambitious metagenomics project has been initiated to understand the structure, dynamics, and evolution of seed borne bacterial communities (pathogens and non-pathogens) in order to improve strategies against disease development.