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Graduate student Dr. Ayanna Jones is studying the complex rhizosphere surrounding plant root structures.

In this podcast, you’ll learn

  • The nature of the rhizosphere, a coating-like zone in the soil surrounding plant roots with various interactions between the plant itself, bacteria, and other microorganisms,
  • Roles of these rhizosphere microorganisms in serving the plant’s needs such as responding to wounds, and 
  • Applications for these findings that show the importance of plant health, from climate change protections  to managing lack of crop space. 

Dr. Ayanna Jones is a chemistry PhD student and is bringing systems chemistry to her work at Emory with a focus on rhizosphere microorganisms.

She describes the rhizosphere as a very unique zone with all kinds of interactions including channels where these microorganisms can move about. Some are associated with wounding processes, for example, that help repair the plant.

She explains that studying the rhizosphere is important because it allows scientist to better understand how plants regulate behavior at these wounded and non-wounded sites and heal and protect themselves.

When a plant is wounded or torn, the act ignites a response from the plant just like humans respond to a wound with certain biological processes such as a release of white blood cells.

Dr. Jones is looking at kinetic models of wounded versus non-wounded sites specifically with monocot plants such as sorghum because they offer a simpler model for study.

She describes the various strengths of this research approach and elaborates on what they can learn, such as the behavior of a pathogen’s ability to wound a plant and how a plant may defend itself. Such findings will lead to healthier plants and better crop production.

For more including related publications, see https://www.lynnlabemory.com/.


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