Our Research
Mineral stress (nutrient deficiency and/or toxicity of mineral elements), is considered the single most important factor limiting crop production on at least 60% of the world’s soils and primary cause of about 50% of yield loss worldwide. As a consequence of low soil availability of micronutrients, over 40% of the world’s population suffers from micronutrient deficiencies. Furthermore, current demand for safe and high quality food is envisaged to double by the next decades. To overcome such problems by efficient and sustainable soil management it would be necessary to understand the mechanisms conferring mineral stress tolerance in plants, along with the rhizosphere processes that modulate the nutrient dynamics and availability for plants.  
Primarily, we are interested in iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P) deficiency, metal excess and salt stress, with special emphases on the alleviating role of silicon (Si) under such conditions. Recently, we are working on the role of mineral nutrition and, in particular, on the role of Si in suppression of phytoplasma disease in grapevine and maize, focusing on the interactions between vector insect, plant and phytoplasma. Currently, our main research topics are:

          Role of silicon in mineral stresses
          Role of mineral nutrition in suppression of phytoplasma disease
          Rhizosphere phosphorus availability and acquisition by crops
Plant ionomics
          Micronutrient deficiency in crops and food quality 
          Ecophysiological adaptations of plants to marginal soils
          Silicon in vegetation ecology of degraded land