There is a clear need for sustainable methods to combat agricultural pests. Copper salts are widely used in regular and organic agriculture. In citriculture, copper is extensively used to combat the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, which causes Asiatic Citrus Canker (ACC). ACC is endemic in all major orange producing regions in the world, except Europe. This project is aimed at the development of a bio-based, sustainable technology for the protection of citrus trees, as an alternative to copper, and is carried out by an international, interdisciplinary consortium with contributions from Dutch partners (universities of Groningen and Maastricht) and Brazilian partners from academia as well as citrus growing and crop protection industries.
Previously, our consortium has developed various promising lead compounds to protect plants. The current project is focused on efficient delivery of these compounds to the plants. Also, the ecological impact of the compounds on the soil has to be evaluated and compared to classic methods of crop protection, such as copper containing pesticides. Your role in the project will be to study this ecological impact through analysis of the microbiota of soil samples of sprayed plants in the field, and chemical analysis of the retention of the compounds in the soil. You will work in the groups of Prof. Dirk-Jan Scheffers (Bacterial Cell Biology) and Prof. Peter Deuss (Catalytic Processing of Sustainable Resources).
We offer an excellent opportunity to engage into an exciting PhD project that combines microbiology, chemistry, genomics and bioinformatics, in the context of a dynamic, international and enthusiastic work environment, with state-of-the-art equipment and exposure to national and international scientific collaborations.
We are looking for a PhD candidate for this project. Your responsibilities will include:
• sampling and analysis of soil from greenhouse and field studies – both microbiota and chemical analyses
• reporting on the outcome of your work to a diverse team of consortium members with different knowledge backgrounds
• integration of the outcome of your work with that of other team members working on, e.g. the delivery of the compounds or safety testing.
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