Steven E. Lindow
University of California, Berkeley
Election Year: 1999
Primary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Membership Type: Member
As a plant pathologist and microbial ecologist, I have studied bacteria that live on plant surfaces with emphasis on the study of ice nucleation active bacteria that initiate ice formation at warm subfreezing temperatures and thus incite damaging ice formation in frost-sensitive plant species. In addition, I have investigated bacteria that induce fruit russet by production of the plant hormone 3-indole acetic acid, as well as plant pathogenic bacteria that colonize plants prior to infection. My laboratory has used molecular biological methods to determine the contribution of particular bacterial traits to the ability of microbes to grow and survive on plants and to determine the identity of bacterial genes that are specifically expressed while on plants. In addition, we are developing "biological sensors" comprised of environmentally responsive promoters fused to reporter genes to enable us to determine the chemical and physical characteristics of the microhabitats that bacteria inhabit on plants. The goal of my work is to better understand the ecology of plant colonists so that biological strategies for plant disease and frost control can be better implemented as an alternative to chemical pesticides.