Dr. Ahmed Debez
Research project: Proteomics and Halophyte Stress Tolerance
The worldwide increasing salinization of soils and irrigation water is a major environmental issue since it notably leads to major losses in crop productivity. Halophytes are salt-tolerant plants that can grow in dry areas and could be potentially domesticated as cash crop halophytes in relationship with their numerous economical (fodder, oilseed, medicinal) and environmental (soil desalination, heavy metal phyto-extraction) interests. Halophytes can therefore help to increase the amount of arable land available to farmers without competing with existing crops and without consuming scarce freshwater resources, providing a previously untapped resource for the development of high-value crops. Interestingly, halophytes are also useful as a source of salt tolerance genes/proteins.
The project entitled “Proteomics and Halophyte Stress Tolerance”, is a German-Tunisian project funded by the DAAD in the framework of the Transformation partnership program (Line 4 – Al Tawasul). The project will involve from Tunisia the Laboratory of Extremophile Plants (LPE) at the Center of Biotechnology of Borj-Cedria (CBBC) and from Germany, the Proteomics Unit at the Plant genetics Institute (Leibniz University of Hannover), represented by Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Braun.
As a whole, the project aims at characterizing the changes in the protein profile of an oilseed halophyte Cakile maritima upon exposure to increasing salinity. Deeper investigating this halophyte at the molecular level using the proteomic approach will lead to a better understanding of the biochemical and physiological mechanisms responsible for its stress tolerance. The information generated in this project could ultimately be used to improve the agricultural performance of halophytes, to establish traits relevant for the selection of salt-tolerant crops, and to transfer the mechanisms of salt tolerance to other crops to induce salt tolerance.
Three work packages (WP) compose this project:
- WP1: Signaling of the proteome responses of C. maritima upon salt exposure
- WP2: Comparative study of salt-responses of C. maritima and its relative species A. thaliana and T. salsuginea at the proteome level
- WP3: Proteome-responses of C. maritima under abiotic stress combination.
List of publications: