Plant Ecophysiology – Institut for Plante- og Miljøvidenskab - Københavns Universitet

Plants display incredible plasticity in their response to a changing environment. Under different environmental stimuli, plants shift their resource allocation between general and specialized metabolism. The interaction between general and specialized metabolism affects for plant performance, and impacts digestibility and toxicity. With temperatures and atmospheric conditions changing at unprecedented rates, this interaction must be understood to improve crop performance, and conserve wildlife systems.

Our research aims to understand the molecular regulation and evolution of plant metabolic pathways, providing fundamental knowledge for application to environmental, agricultural and biotechnological platforms. We achieve this by utilizing a full “omics” toolbox; from the glasshouse to the field.

Find more information about the group in the menu below.

Research themes

  • Integrated “omics” approach to understand the role and regulation of specialized metabolites in trees (Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Betula) in response to biotic and abiotic stress
  • Drought tolerance and recovery in cereal crops by redirection of nitrogen between specialized and general metabolism
  • Pathway discovery of genes involved in general and specialized metabolism, with a focus on cytochromes P450
  • Biosynthesis and role of oximes in plant metabolism
  • Evolution of general and specialized metabolite pathways in ferns
  • Volatile emission from Eucalyptus
  • Metabolomic investigations into specialized metabolite detoxification by marsupials
  • Prevalence of cyanogenic glucosides in Eremophila and Myoporum
For students wishing to work within these topics,. M.Sc. and B.Sc. projects are currently available. Please contact en@plen.ku.dk

Current research projects

  • VILLUM Center for Plant Plasticity 2013-2019 (EHJN co-applicant)
  • VILLUM Foundation Young Investigator Program “How does climate change impact plants and their herbivores?” 2016-2020 (EHJN)
  • Danish Council for Independent Research “Improved drought tolerance and recovery via redirection of nitrogen between specialized and general metabolism” 2016-2019 (EHJN)

Scientific highlights

Using a multi-disciplinary approach, our research has established an intricate interplay between plant general and specialized metabolism. We have demonstrated that plants exhibit a metabolic shift in chemistry in response to developmental and environmental change; in the glasshouse and in the field. The redirection of resources between general and specialized metabolism can improve plant growth and performance under adverse conditions. This metabolic shift, however, has significant consequences for plant toxicity and nutritional content, and downstream consequences on different trophic levels.

We have optimized analytical methods to separate and analyze complex plant mixtures. We are currently identifying key biosynthetic pathway members involved in the biosynthesis of different specialized metabolite classes, combining transcriptomic and proteomic analyses.

Group members

For students

Are you interested in doing a project, you can read more about your options in the project database

  • Project database for students

  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences have various bachelor and master programs.

  • Read more about the options here
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