Science prize for Dr. Caroline Marcon

Dr. Caroline Marcon has been awarded the Theodor Brinkmann Science Prize by the Faculty of Agriculture at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. During the Faculty Council meeting in April 2024, Dean Prof. Dr. Heiko Schoof recognized her exceptional habilitation thesis titled “Functional genomics of maize (Zea mays L.) seedling roots.”

Roots are a key to drought-tolerant maize

Maize can grow successfully in very different local conditions. An international study headed by the University of Bonn has now demonstrated the important role of the plant root system. The researchers analyzed more than 9,000 varieties in the study and were able to show that their roots varied considerably – depending on how dry the location is where each variety was cultivated. They were also able to identify an important gene that plays a role in the plant’s ability to adapt. This gene could be the key to developing varieties of maize that cope better with climate change. The results were recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.

Organic farming leads to adaptations in the genetic material in plants

Plants adapt genetically over time to the special conditions of organic farming. This has been demonstrated in a long-term study conducted at the University of Bonn. The researchers planted barley plants on two neighboring fields and used conventional farming methods on one and organic methods on the other. Over the course of more than 20 years, the organic barley was enriched with specific genetic material that differed from the comparative culture. Among other things, the results demonstrate how important it is to cultivate varieties especially for organic farming. The results have now been published in the journal “Agronomy for Sustainable Development.”

Prof. Dr. Florian Grundler has been appointed Fellow of the European Society of Nematologists

This honor recognizes his outstanding scientific contributions to nematology and his commitment to the ESN. Prof. Grundler was a member of the Governing Board for several years and President of the ESN from 2006 to 2010. He has been President of the International Federation of Nematological Societies for two years and will hold this position until the organization of the next International Congress of Nematology in 2028.

Maize genes control little helpers in the soil

Tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi help to promote the health and function of plant roots. It is commonly assumed that the composition of these microbes is dependent on the properties of the soil. However, an international team of researchers led by the University of Bonn has now discovered when studying different local varieties of maize that the genetic makeup of the plants also helps to influence which microorganisms cluster around the roots. The results, which have now been published in the prestigious journal Nature Plants, could help to breed future varieties of maize that are better suited to drought and limited nutrients.

Phosphorus Absorption Improved and Zinc Content Increased

A new variety of rice that is adapted to life in low-phosphorus soils, that contains an exceptionally large amount of zinc and that was developed specifically for the conditions in Madagascar where it is grown, has recently been certified in the country. The variety was created under the leadership of plant scientist Professor Matthias Wissuwa from the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) and the PhenoRob Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn which he joined as a visiting professor in spring 2023, together with the Africa Rice Center and the National Centre of Applied Research for Rural Development in Madagascar (FOFIFA)

"Smart Horticultural Practices" educational project in India

In February 2024 INRES - Horticultural Science participated in the lecture series “Smart Horticultural Practices” that was a joint project of GIZ, Green Innovation Centre India and Competence Centre for Fruit Cultivation at Lake Constance (KOB).

INRES - Horticultural Science (HortiBonn) at the 56th DGG conference in Braunschweig

From February 28th to March 1st, 2024, 185 scientists from all horticultural disciplines - including a large number of young scientists - gathered for the well-attended 56th annual conference of the German Horticultural Science Society (DGG) and the Federal Association of Students and Graduates of Higher Education Studies in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (BHGL) at the Thünen Institute in Braunschweig to present and discuss current research findings in horticulture as well as to network.

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