Phytophthora - Laboratory of Phytopathology

Phytophthora literally means plant destroyer. Over hundred Phytophthora species are known that cause devastating diseases on numerous crops, ornamentals and indigenous plants and have an enormous economic impact on agriculture.

They are members of the oomycetes, water molds that grow as fungi but are not related to fungi. Their closest relatives are diatoms and brown algae. Our research focuses on the biology and pathology of Phytophthora, in particular the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in 1845. We also study interactions between Phytophthora and model plant species such as Arabidopisis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana.

More on Phytophthora infestans and late blight in this review in the Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science. More on oomycete pathogens and model systems of oomycete-host interaction in this review in Annual Plant Reviews.

Left: Potato field damaged by late blight. Right: Late blight lesion.
Left: Potato field damaged by late blight. Right: Late blight lesion.

Projects: