Marine Bio‑products Research Laboratory

Marine Bioproducts

Plants are constantly exposed to an array of stress factors like salinity, drought, freezing, pests and diseases. These stress factors lead to reduced productivity of economically important crops and ultimately billions of dollars in lost revenue. The occurrence of these stress factors is becoming more widespread due to climate change and global warming. Therefore, it is urgent to develop methods to mitigate these stresses to improve plant productivity. Products derived from seaplants are known to enhance plant growth, increase economic yield, enhance biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. However, the chemical nature of the bioactive compounds and the molecular mechanism of action of these products are unclear. Using plant models, Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula, we are bioprospecting for bioactives from seaplants to improve plant performance under biotic and abiotic stresses. Further, using biochemical and molecular approaches, we are trying to understand the mode of action of bioactive compounds.

Molecular Plant root-microbe interactions

The root systems of plants help sense and respond to biotic and abiotic cues, besides offering the mechanical support and absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. One group of organisms that interact with plant roots is bacteria, a group consisting of both pathogenic and beneficial forms. Bacteria in the rhizosphere can influence the physiological activity of root, resulting in altered quality and quantitty of the chemicals in the root exudates. Such influences are elicited by factors present on the bacterial cell surface and/or secreted factors. Conversely, chemical components present in the root exudate affect growth and physiology of bacteria implying a dynamic interaction between root and the bacteria.

The primary objectives of our group are: 1. Characterization of the differences in the physiological and molecular events that leads up to the establishment of pathogenic or beneficial interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana roots and bacteria. 2. Identification of genes and gene products of the plant and bacteria that facilitates or impedes such interactions. 3. Development of physiological and molecular markers in Arabidopsis thaliana which indicate either successful association with the beneficial bacteria or non-association with the pathogenic bacteria.


We are a part of the Atlantic Research Centre for Agricultural Genomics and Aquaculture Centre located in the Haley Institute of Animal Science and Aquaculture, Dalhousie's Faculty of Agriculture.

We have access to core molecular biology facility (thermocyclers, PCR station, real time PCR machines, DNA sequencer,High speed centrifuges, Nanodrop Spectrophotometer, gel doc system, Microplate reader), isotope room, dark room, cold room, plant growth room, environment controlled plant growth chambers and a fluorescence microscope. A Waters HPLC system equipped with photodiode array and fluorescent detectors was recently acquired.

Contact Information

Prithiviraj Lab
Room-H223, 58 River Road
Deparment of Plant and Animal Sciences
Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture
Truro B2N 5E3

Phone : +1-902-896-2431