Understanding the role of natural products in nature

The bacterial populations associated with plants and soils can be critical to plant health, especially in the context of controlling plant disease.

However, the role of many bacterial natural products in these environments is not well defined.

In collaboration with the Malone group, the Truman lab are characterising the role of natural products in suppressing agriculturally significant plant pathogens.

This multidisciplinary work spans genomics, plant pathology, microbiology, genetics and natural products chemistry.

Their ultimate practical goal is to identify bacterial strains and/or natural products that can be employed to control plant disease.

On a fundamental level, they want to understand why many plant-associated bacteria, such as Streptomyces and Pseudomonas species, have evolved to make so many natural products and how these molecules mediate interactions with other organisms.