Zeshan Asgher

Plant pathogens pose a serious threat to crop production and microbe-mediated pathogen suppression provides a potential tool to control these pathogens in an eco-friendly manner. If these bioinoculants are to fully replace the chemical fertilizers and pesticides in future, there is a great need to identify and functionally characterize the single or consortium of the effective microbial strains of beneficial traits to capture the maximum efficiency of soil biota. Root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus spp.) is a serious pest of grain crops in Australia and can cause 30-40% yield loss in wheat and up to 60% in chickpeas. Bacteria of Pasteuria (obligate parasite of Pratylenchus spp.) group has the potential to infest and kill root-lesion nematodes. Hence, this research project will focus to isolate and characterize the high efficiency microbial strains of Pasteuria to develop consortia that can act as a sustainable alternative to control nematode diseases and to enhance crop productivity.

Zeshan has a Bachelor and Master’s degree in agricultural sciences from BZ University Multan, Pakistan. His Master’s research focused on the role of PGPR in wheat production under nutrient deficit conditions. During his Master’s he had the opportunity to study as a cultural exchange student at Zhejiang University, China, where he worked on an endophytic fungus Piriformospora indica to test its potential to alleviate abiotic stress in brassica. He also has experience working with lentils under diverse agronomic practices and environmental stresses. Most of his research is related to plant-environment relations and how to improve the sustainability and efficiency of crop production systems.

Organisation:
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne

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