Plant Metabolomics

Current research is focussed on developing methods for performing comprehensive mass profiling of metabolites and to identify them using an UPLC-MS approach We develop methods that will perform complete mass profiling of metabolites and to identify them using UPLC-MS approach.
The rhizosphere team has also developed a microbiome assay where rhizosphere microbiome outperforms bulk soil microbiome. Metabolic profile of the two are highly distinct, which will lead to identification of key microbiome mend metabolites involved in this enhancement in our ongoing studies. Very recently, in collaboration with Naqvi group, TLL, we have studied chemical ecology of interactions in rice phyllosphere with its pathogen, Magnaporthe. Using combination of metabolomics and function-guided purification, we described the new signal interfering molecule, hydroxylated jasmonate that is produced by the pathogen during invasion, which suppresses the jasmonate defense signaling pathways in the rice leaf (Patkar et al 2015).
These findings have applications in devising protection strategies against the rice blast fungus, which is the most destructive fungal pathogen of plants known presently and can infect about 40 genera of cereal crops and grasses worldwide.
These studies are being followed-up in DBS (Department of Biological Sciences), NERI (NUS Environmental Research Institute), SCELSE (Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering) and SynCTI (Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation). More recently, we have initiated collaborations with PUB (Public Utilities Board), TLL (Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory) and SIMS (Sydney Institute for Marine Sciences) and Lake Biwa Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan.