Plants respond to complex environmental stress conditions (abiotic and biotic) to minimize damage and preserve sufficient resources for growth and reproduction. However, it is important to improve our understanding of crop responses to different farming practices under field conditions. Therefore, we simultaneously evaluated selected plant traits (growth, health as investigated by expression analyses of stress-related genes and metabolic stress indicators) as measures of the interplay between the rhizosphere microbiota and the plant.
We developed qPCR-based systems to characterize the health of winter wheat and maize in terms of gene expression related with biotic and abiotic stress adaptations. Gene expression analysis is further complemented by determination of metabolic stress indicators and profiling of related phytohormones using HPLC-MS.