Samane Eskandari, coming to the rescue of Iranian cucumbers

As part of her doctoral studies, Samane Eskandari, an Iranian student, is hosted by the Jean-Pierre Bourgin Institute for six months.

Samane Eskandari, an Iranian student at the Jean-Pierre Bourgin Institute (INRA, AgroParisTech, ELR CNRS). © INRA, Catherine Foucaud-Scheunemann
Updated on 03/27/2017
Published on 03/24/2017

Manganese (Mn) is an essential microelement for plant growth with very important physiological functions. As cofactor of oxidative enzymes such as peroxidase, Mn catalyzes lignin synthesis. Lignin is an important biochemical barrier against fungal pathogen invasion. Therefore, Mn supply seems to be effective in increasing crop resistance to fungal diseases.

In Iran, the cucumber, Cucumis sativus, is one of the most important economic vegetable crops grown either in the open field or in greenhouses. Its production, however, particularly in greenhouses, is affected by a major fungal disease, powdery mildew.

Samane Eskandari obtained a Masters degree in soil science at Vali-e-Asr University of Rafsanjan in Iran. She is now preparing a PhD in soil science and plant nutrition at Isfahan University of Technology. In the perspective of reducing damage caused by powdery mildew on crops, she is interested in the effects of applying manganese on cucumber leaves.

In February 2017, she joined the Jean-Pierre Bourgin Institute (INRA, AgroParisTech, ELR CNRS) for 6 months where, under the supervision of Herman Hofte, she will conduct research to:

  • compare the effectiveness of Mn sources (mineral form and complexed with amino acids) on the resistance of cucumber to powdery mildew
  • evaluate the effect of time of Mn-foliar application (before and after infection) on powdery mildew severity
  • investigate the changes in cell wall biochemical and ultra-structural characteristics of leaf in the presence of the disease and foliar-applied Mn
  • investigate distribution and translocation of manganese in different plant tissues, various parts of leaf and cell components and its relationship to biochemical parameters and disease severity
  • study the mechanism causing cell wall modifications by manganese by using a genetic approach in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

At the end of her fellowship at INRA, Samane Eskandari will begin the last stretch of her PhD which she will defend in the months which will follow. This is a challenge which she will enjoy since her stay in France will enable her to establish fruitful and long-lasting partnerships with Iranian researchers.