Plant-Microbe Interactions


About this course

This course provides up-to-date theoretical and practical training in physiological, biochemical and molecular aspects of interactions between plants and pathogenic fungi and oomycetes, with different lifestyles. In addition, information is provided on the interaction between plants and beneficial microbes (the microbiome) and antagonism between rhizosphere-colonizing bacteria and plant-infecting soil borne fungi (antibiosis). Attention will also be paid to bioinformatics and genome evolution. The course prepares for possible MSc Thesis and Internship studies in Plant Pathology, at the Laboratory of Phytopathology. This course also provides a basis for a possible PhD in (Molecular) Phytopathology and/or for a position as a Research Scientist in a Plant Breeding company. Experiments in the practical (such as plant inoculations, symptom assessment, in vitro growth tests, protein extractions, agro-infiltration) illustrate the various aspects of the theory. There will also be a computer assignment illustrating the use of bioinformatics in plant-microbe interactions.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • will have acquired insight in the molecular basis of interactions between plants and microbes (fungi; Fusarium, Botrytis and Cladosporium fulvum, and oomycetes, such as Phytophthora species.);
  • will be able to demonstrate detailed understanding of how resistance proteins (immune receptors) function in defending plants against microbial pathogens;
  • will be able to demonstrate detailed understanding of how effectors (proteins, metabolites, RNAs) of microbial pathogens can promote disease;
  • will have obtained insight in the protective (bacterial) microbiome that is present in the soil, in the role of the microbiome in plant growth stimulation and in the antagonism between root-colonizing microbes and pathogenic soil-borne fungi;
  • will be able to understand and summarize scientific publications in the field of (molecular) plant pathology;
  • will be able to perform basic experiments that are aimed at studying plant-microbe interactions;
  • will be able to write a report about the aims, setup and outcome of phytopathological experiments.

Required prior knowledge

Mandatory Knowledge:
ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety
Assumed Knowledge:
Useful earlier courses are:
PHP30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-Interactions;
ENT30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-Interactions;
GEN20306 Molecular and Evolutionary Ecology;
GEN20806 Plant Biotechnology and PBR30306 Breeding for Quality and Resistance.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    13 May 2024

    • Ends
      5 July 2024
    • Term *
      Period 6
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Enrolment period closed
  • Start date

    10 March 2025

    • Ends
      2 May 2025
    • Term *
      Period 5
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 9 Feb 2025
    Enrolment starts in 2 days
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University