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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
September 24, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Frédérique Guinel


email: Frédérique Guinel
phone: 519-884-0710
ext: 2230



Basic research

I am interested in studying the interactions existing between beneficial rhizosphere microorganisms (a bacterium Rhizobium and a fungus Glomus) and roots of higher plants, especially those of peas.  I have several pleiotropic pea mutants which are unable to form proper nodules.  Each mutant has a particular defect in nodule development; furthermore, some of these mutants are also unable to form mycorrhizae.  Some mutants are ethylene-sensitive and two accumulate cytokinins.  We are studying the mutant features, focusing especially on nodule and mycorrhizae formation, and hormone action.  We are attempting to link these characteristics in order to unravel how hormones affect microbe entry into the roots and how they control the development of these two microbe-induced structures.  We were able to demonstrate that the mutant R50 (sym16) accumulates the plant hormone cytokinins and we propose that the cytokinin levels have a negative effect not only on the epidermal entry of the bacteria but also on the establishment of the nodule primordium.  Another mutant, E151 (sym15) led us to hypothesize that cytokinins are promoting the development of mycorrhizae.  We are currently testing this hypothesis.

This research has been supported in the past by NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Discovery grants and is currently supported by WLU.

Applied research

We are interested in testing the feasibility of using an agromineral rock known as Spanish River Carbonatite (SRC) as an alternative or a supplement to chemical fertilizers.  SRC is known to have a liming effect (i.e., it increases the soil pH), but it has also been reported as beneficial to the plant which becomes healthier and produces larger fruits.  We are attempting to understand how the agromineral benefits the plants; in doing so we have uncovered that microbes are living within the SRC deposit.  We are now proposing that the SRC microbiota is responsible for the promotion of plant growth. 

This research has been supported externally by OCE-VIP1, Connect Canada, and Talent Edge grants and internally by WLU.