Welcome to the HortiCell Lab

HortiCell is hosted at the faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University. We aim to contribute to the improvement of production and reproduction of crops and agricultural important plant species to the benefit of the society at large.

HortiCell focuses on technology for the innovation of plant breeding, plant in vitro culture, and indoor farming.

News and events

PLANT BIOSTIMULANT/BIOPESTICIDE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

The department Plants and Crops, unit HortiCell, has 2 vacant positions for predoctoral scientist

The selected candidate will participate in executing research in the frame of the project BIO2BIO. The BIO2BIO project operates in the field of biostimulant and biopesticide development.

 

Job description


Post date:
Microbial activity in peat-reduced plant growing media: Identifying influential growing medium constituents and physicochemical properties using fractional factorial design of experiments
 
Highlights
Use of fractional factorial DOE as a tool for optimization of peat-reduced growing media.
Growing media composition greatly affects microbial activity.
Physicochemical analysis revealed water-filled porosity to be a key determinant of microbial activity in growing media.
 

Post date:

Celery and Celeriac: A Critical View on Present and Future Breeding


Post date:

In vitro shoot growth and adventitious rooting of Wikstroemia gemmata depends on light quality


Post date:

Pages

Projects

Innovations in PLANT BREEDING

Meiotic recombination – doubled haploids – chromosome dynamics -  polyploidy

For thousands of years’ man has been selecting living beings that in some way bring benefit and this has had profound impact on human history and civilization. Our methods and strategy of selection implemented for creating new plant varieties, which we refer to as plant breeding, are by and large still based on empirical expertise. Hence the idea that plant breeding is an art. In fact, it mostly is profound knowledge of a crop, insight into the market, avoiding risks and a bit of luck. We are however arriving at a turning point whereby recent discoveries are paving the way how breeding will no longer be merely based on chance but also uses our insight into chromosome biology and implements molecular tools that can modulate genetic diversity. The research of our team is geared to contribute to the development of such technologies whereby we aim to simplify and accelerate the breeding process. A favorite field of research is plant meiosis as this forms the basis for genetic diversity of most of our crops.

Innovations in PLANT IN VITRO CULTURE

Adventitious root and shoot induction -  microspore culture – protoplast culture

Plant in vitro culture or also called tissue culture is used by the ornamental industry and silviculture for mass production of selected varieties and elite lines. In vitro cultivation of microspores, ovules, and protoplast regeneration are implemented in breeding companies that use, or aim to develop, doubled haploid hybrid technology. For several decades the technology has been developed and fine tuned by empiric approaches testing different types of culturing media, growth conditions, types of explants, and using a handful of different hormones. Finding that unique protocol for propagation or regeneration is viewed as a gold mine to set up a business or to gain competitive advantage. Unfortunately, comparatively to other plant research fields, little effort has been done to dig into the fundamental mechanisms of plant regeneration and plant propagation. Yet, insight into these processes will be needed to get in vitro culture out of the dark and create new opportunities for the industry. Our primary approach consists of selecting and implementing small chemicals that influence organogenesis and regeneration. We study the mode of action of these chemicals and identify by means of structure function activity analyses the molecular processes and genetic factors required for bioactivity.

Innovations in HYDROPONICS, INDOOR FARMING and LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS

Hydroponic system – rhizosphere microbiome – biostimulant – space research

The amount of fruit and vegetables we are transporting around the world is enormous and this creates problems of reducing farmer’s income, congestion, mineral imbalances, food losses etc. Consuming food we never have seen produced also disconnects us from what we eat and feeds the lack of respect for the efforts that go into generating all that produce. At the same time, we should consume more fruits and vegetables and reduce intake of other, less healthy, food stuff. How can we influence production and consumption of fruits and vegetables? City farming is becoming a popular concept (you may call it a hype) that draws a lot of attention from entrepreneurs and policy makers. Proper scientific investigation should back-up the dreams of producing vegetables and fruits inside the city. Regardless of the feasibility of self-sufficiency by city farming, hydroponic culture is an important branch of vegetables and fruits production which is still a rather recent technology compared to production in open field. Hence there has not been as much research invested and major improvements in yield, quality and sustainability are still possible to increase economic profitability and to reduce environmental impact.  Our goal is to contribute to hydroponic cultivation technology including indoor farming and life support systems by studying plant physiology of hydroponically grown crops. A focus of research is the root microbiome of vegetables grown in hydroponic systems.

Active topics

Staff

Danny Geelen
Professor
Burcu Keçeli
Postdoctoral staff
Trinh Khai
Postdoctoral staff
Brechtje de Haas
PhD student
Siel Desmet
PhD student
Chunlian Jin
PhD student
Robin Lardon
PhD student
Jing Li
PhD student
Cédric Schindfessel
PhD student
Limin Sun
PhD student
Thijs Van Gerrewey
PhD student
Yinwei Zeng
PhD student
Patricia Delaere
Technical staff
Christophe Petit
Technical staff
Ellen Van Gysegem
Technical staff
Arno Aerts
Masterstudent
Robin Bossaerts
Masterstudent
Ellen Van de Velde
Masterstudent