Heber Dias de Oliveira

Theme 2 and 3

Defining root exudates including signalling molecules released by plant roots for nitrogen acquisition in Australian crops

Interactions between plants and microbes are complex processes that entail below-ground signalling and communication, followed by changes in the biological, morphological, and biochemical characteristics of the plant. The communication of plants and microorganisms is mediated by proteins, lipids, small RNAs, and other metabolites, with these molecules being referred as signalling molecules. Applying findings of the biochemical and genetic basis of plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere is a promising direction to innovate the design of new controlled-release fertiliser coatings for improved crop nitrogen acquisition in agricultural ecosystems.

Heber has a BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Aveiro and a MSc in Agricultural Engineering from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Porto. During his academic and professional career he has developed studies on the effects of novel fertilisation regimes on the microbial communities of the rhizosphere and rhizoplane of strawberry plants (Fragaria × ananassa).

Heber is now pursuing a PhD across Themes 2 and 3, studying the effects of urease inhibitors on plants, soil, and plant-microbe interactions. His project uses both metagenomics and metabolomics to elucidate the mechanisms of how urease inhibitors affect the signalling molecules released by plant roots for nitrogen acquisition, their roles in regulating soil N transformations, and their impact on the composition and functions of rhizosphere microbiomes.

School of Agriculture, Food and Ecosystem Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne

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