Details for Ruben Verbeek

Researchgroup Epigenetics & Defence
Function PhD student
Phone +32-9-2645967
Office Block B, room 120.019
Sorry, no picture

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is traditionally grown in flooded soil, but with increasing fresh water scarcity an alternative is needed. Aerobic rice is a non-flooded production system were rice is grown in well-drained, non-puddled and nonstaturated soils with water savings up to 50%. This system however, is more prone to soilborne diseases than flooded rice. The predominant pathogens are root-affecting Pythium spp. (P. graminicola and P. arrhenomanes) and the root knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne graminicola. Interestingly, it has been observed that disease symptoms are less severe when Pythium and RKN occur together, but the underlying mechanisms are not yet understood.
In this PhD project the interaction between rice and the two root pathogens will be studied to elucidate through which mechanisms Pythium and RKN counteract each other. The hypothesis is that Pythium and RKN antagonize by direct interactions, such as competition for nutrients and/or space; toxin production by Pythium or enzymatic degradation of the Pythium cell walls by enzymes produced by the nematode. Alternatively, it will be investigated whether indirect interactions are involved in the antagonism. More specifically it is tested whether plant defense pathways activated by Pythium will also lead to a better protection against the nematodes