What is Rhizosphere Biology?
The rhizosphere is a densely populated area in which plant roots co-exist and interact with other plants, microbes, invertebrates and the soil. These interactions are biologically relevant and largely controlled by chemical and biochemical processes. For instance, plant roots, long thought to be passive organs designed to anchor the plant and absorb water and nutrients, are now known to be actively involved in controlling their environment. Through the secretion of various chemicals, known as root exudates, they repel pathogens, attract beneficial microbes, and even poison the soil for other plants. These exudates are specific to certain communications.
We have established the center in order to harness this specificity, both in order to develop new antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, and biofriendly pesticides, and to enhance our understanding of the little-known interactions between plants, bacteria, and microbes beneath the soil, to promote an understanding of ecologically relevant processes that happen below ground, and to communicate our findings to the public. The center has also been developed to foster interactions among CSU faculty and students, as well as to promote some of the strategic goals of CSU, such as using academic research to create concrete results for human health, agriculture, and environmental preservation.