PS Webinar Series: The use of synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy to study the “battle for nutrients” between plant and pathogen

Abstract - Metal homeostasis is essential to normal plant growth and development. The balance is potentially impacted during plant-pathogen interactions as the host and pathogen compete for the same nutrients. Our knowledge of outcome of the interaction in terms of metal homeostasis is still limited. In my talk, I will focus on the use of ANSTO Australian synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) that enabled visualisation and analysis of the fate of nutrients in infected wheat leaves. We employed XFM for a detailed time-course of nutrient re-distribution in wheat leaves infected with a devastating fungal pathogen, Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr), to (i) evaluate the utility of XFM for spatially mapping the essential mineral nutrients in wheat leaves at sub-micron level, and (ii) examine the spatiotemporal impact of a necrotrophic fungus on nutrient re-distribution in wheat leaves.

Biography - Dr Fatima Naim is a project leader at the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) at Curtin University. She is a passionate individual with diverse skillsets in agricultural science, including application of analytical chemistry, molecular biology and genomics. Dr Naim holds a BSc (Genetics and Chemistry, UWA), an honours in chemical education, industry experience as a chemist at ALS and CSIRO Minerals and a PhD on metabolic engineering of lipid pathways in seeds and leaves (CSIRO and the University of Sydney). This was followed by completion of postdoctoral training at QUT (2014-2019) developing tools for efficient gene editing in plants and relocation to Perth in 2019 to lead a CCDM foundation project on physiological impacts of fungal diseases.