COST Action 19116
Trace metal metabolism in plants -

                  19116 PLANTMETALS logoCOST logo


Working groups of PLANTMETALS


Interactions between WPs in the PLANTMETALS Action. (1) Metal solubilising microorganisms in nature; (2) Metal loading of the active centres / cofactors of metalloproteins; (3) Interactions between siderophores mediating metal uptake, metal solubilising microorganisms and plant systemic responses to microbes; (4) Metal detoxification pathways / Metabolic processes affected by metal levels in the environment; (5) Modification of metal accumulation in crops by changing metal transporter expression; (6) Microbial inoculants for metal nutrition / Crop biofortification; (7) Improved metal uptake from soil and delivery to sink organs; (8) Metal toxicity by non-functional substitution of active centres / metal cofactors in metalloproteins. WG5-6 are made up of members of WGs 1-4. WG5-6 members will therefore be automatically present at the activities of the scientific WGs while they will ensure the dissemination and IP objectives



Metal transport
Pathways of TMs from the soil and through the plant.  WG1 identifies the limiting factors in the uptake of plant physiologically active TMs from the rhizosphere and limit the uptake or the transfer to edible parts of toxic non-essential TMs. WG1 determines the chemical form (speciation) of TMs in each compartment. WG 1 studies crop plants and the use of hyperaccumulators and identify key nodes to improve/limit the uptake and accumulation of essential/non-essential TMs. WG1 studies interactions between TMs (antagonistic or synergistic effects)..
Leader: Prof. Sebastien Thomine <>,
deputy leader: Prof. Ana Assuncao <>

Metalloproteins important for TM homeostasis, metalloenzymes. WG2 identifies metalloproteins important for TM use efficiency. WG2 studies interaction of the proteins (other than transporters) with a TM: substrate affinity, regulation of activity, mechanism of function.
Leader: Prof. Eva Freisinger <>,
deputy leader: Prof. Marie-Theres Hauser

Responses of plant TM metabolism to the environment. TM deficiency, TM toxicity, interactions with beneficial microorganisms and pathogens. WG3 identifies targets of both stress conditions and mechanisms, from the initial target to the whole- plant response. The initial targets can be lack or non-functional replacement of metal centres in metalloproteins, but also direct or indirect interactions with nucleic acids and metabolites. WG3 reveals how beneficial microorganisms and pathogens interact with the metal metabolism of plants. Such interactions may, for example, involve changes in the uptake and intra-plant distribution of metals, enhanced or diminished expression or activity of metalloproteins.
Dr. Marek Vaculik <>,
deputy leader: Dr. Dorina Podar <>

Agronomic aspects of TM homeostasis. WG4 conducts studies to contribute to better nutritional quality of food crops by using targeted fertilisation and agricultural management also in consideration of the new EU regulation on fertilisers, and to characterise crop plant response to low and excess application of TMs by employing physiological assays and analytical tools, which will be developed in WG1-3. WG4 evaluates how micronutrient fertilisers are absorbed (after foliar vs. soil application, added in organic or mineral forms), how microorganisms and fungi can be used to improve plant TM nutrition (through a better use of soil metals), how TMs are transported within crop plants and how their localisation and speciation changes in this process. Finally, workshops / symposia will be organised for farmers associations and industrial stakeholders dealing with targeted breeding, fertilisation and micronutrient foliar fertiliser production. This will be done in the last year of the Action, to facilitate the transfer of the knowledge gained from the COST Action to the stakeholders.
Dr. Valerie Bert <>,
deputy leader: Prof. Giancarlo Renella <>

Dissemination. WG5 is focused on how to best target the results from this Action to the different stakeholders. WG5 is responsible for preparing the press releases to news outlets, update the Action’s social media accounts, and support the efforts at the national front. Moreover, WG5 will organise training sessions on writing skills to target research journals, farmer bulletins, and press releases. In addition, WG5 coordinates any joint project by groups within the consortium to maximise group interactions, avoid overlaps and redundancy of research efforts, and increase success rates.
Leader: Prof. Ute Kraemer <>,
deputy leader: Prof. Alexander Lux <>

Intellectual property protection. It is expected that a number of the results obtained within the PLANTMETALS Action will have an impact on the private sector. WG6 coordinates all the IP protection efforts, promoting them whenever possible in collaboration with the universities involved – (which usually have their own IP department). In addition, to maximise this output, WG6 will organise a training session on IP protection for the younger participants and promote meetings with the private sector to ensure the exploitation of the key results of the Action.
Leader: Dr. Muhammad Imran <>,
deputy leader: Prof. Mark Aarts <>


designed by Hendrik Küpper, last modified 12 October 2022