Margaret Mukami Gitau

  • Designation: Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG)
  • Country: Spain
  • Title: Exploring Microalgae-Plant Interactions: Insights from Plate Assays, Greenhouse Experiments, Auxin Biosynthesis and Microscopy Analysis


Gitau Margaret Mukami studied Natural Sciences and botany at the University of Chinese Academy of Science and graduated with an MS in July 2017. She joined the Institute of Genetics in Biological Research Centre, Szeged, Hungary, for a 1-year International Training Course. In September 2018, she joined the research group of Dr. Gergely Maróti at the Institute of Plant Biology at the same institution. She enrolled for her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the University of Szeged. She graduated with a Ph.D. in June 2023. She then joined the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), Barcelona, Spain, under the MSCA-COFUND project Agricultural Genomics Transversal (AGenT) as a postdoctoral fellow. Her work involves harnessing green plant biostimulants from microalgae for sustainable agriculture. She has published three articles about this work in SCI(E) journals.


Microalgae have emerged as promising biostimulants for sustainable agriculture due to their ability to influence plant growth and development. In this study, we investigated the interactions between different microalgae species and plants, employing a multifaceted approach that integrated plate assays, greenhouse experiments, auxin biosynthesis analysis, and microscopy techniques.

Plate assays provided initial insights into microalgae's impact on seed germination and early seedling growth under controlled laboratory conditions. Subsequently, greenhouse experiments validated these findings and evaluated the long-term effects of microalgae inoculation on plant growth in agricultural settings.

Concurrently, biochemical assays were used to investigate the auxin biosynthesis capabilities of various microalgae species, highlighting strains with potential as bio-stimulants for plant growth promotion. Additionally, microscopy analysis utilizing specific dyes confirmed the presence of exopolysaccharides in microalgae cultures.

Our integrated approach revealed significant variations in the effects of different microalgae species on plant growth parameters and identified strains with notable auxin biosynthesis capabilities. Moreover, microscopy analysis provided insights into microalgae-plant interactions at the cellular level.

Overall, our study enhances our understanding of microalgae-plant interactions and offers valuable insights for developing sustainable agricultural practices that improve crop productivity and environmental sustainability.

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