Metabolite dynamics and regulation of photosynthesis in the CAM orchid Phalaenopsis
This PhD project aims to provide more insights on the mechanistic regulation of plant physiological responses to different kinds of abiotic stress. As abiotic stress is considered a major factor in reducing global yields of food and feed production, it constitutes a major topic of concern in Europe and beyond. Therefore, it is essential to expand our knowledge about the possibilities to enhance abiotic stress resilience in plants. Because plants with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) show an exceptional adaptation towards abiotic stress, a member of this photosynthetic specialization with high socio- economic relevance, i.e. the CAM orchid Phalaenopsis, constituted the ideal study subject. An extensive 24h metabolite dataset, including metabolite patterns from different metabolic pathways, will be evaluated to shed more light on the metabolic regulation of CAM. In addition, more information will be gathered about the starch degradation pathway as carbohydrate availability is also a critical factor. A further aim is to investigate how CAM plants reconcile energy and carbon requirements under drought and contrasting light regimes. This multidisciplinary program addresses several important global priorities and aims to deliver a significant contribution in the development of strategies to combat abiotic stresses and as such improving global plant production.