Our main research interests are:
- The molecular and biochemical mechanisms of mineral nutrient acquisition in plants.
- Identifying and analysing signals and regulatory networks in plant nutrient uptake and transport, including the mycorrhizal symbiosis.
- Studying the mycorrhizal symbiosis and phosphate transport on a systems level.
- Elucidating the structure and function of endophytic microbial communities using culture-dependent and culture-independent molecular approches.
The research focus in Marcel Bucher´s group is the plant root-soil interface and the molecular and biochemical mechanisms involved in nutrient uptake at this interface with special consideration of beneficial root microflora interactions. Mycorrhizal fungi are used in binary interaction studies on the mechanistic basis of root symbioses. The Bucher lab also investigates the role of microbial consortia associated with roots of model and crop plants in natural, agricultural and synthetic soils under field and controlled conditions. The research methods comprise a combination of molecular physiological, biochemical, cell biological, genetic and genomic approaches including culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques with soil microbes, next-generation sequencing (RNAseq, ITS genotyping, fungal genomes), ICP-MS and LC-MS/MS analytics on secondary metabolites and nutrient elements, to elucidate commensal and mutualistic relationships, the molecular dialogue between microbes and roots, and symbiotic nutrient transport. Work with mycorrhizal plants zooms in on interdependencies of the symbiosis with root-associated soil microflora.
Research of the Bucher lab is currently funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the RheinEnergieStiftung.