Skip to main content

About Marion Brodhagen

1.  Natural plant products inhibiting aflatoxin production.  I am fascinated by the way that plants, which are silent and sessile, interact with both mutualistic and pathogenic symbionts via chemical communication.  Our lab uses the fungus Aspergillus to study these interactions.  Two projects in my lab center on plant secondary metabolites that inhibit growth of the fungus Aspergillus, or inhibit its production of the potent carcinogen, aflatoxin (which frequently contaminates crops used for human food and animal feed).  The first project regards terpenes found in non-host leaf tissues that prevent fungal growth and aflatoxin production.  The second project is collaborative between my lab and Jeff Young’s lab (Biology).  We have discovered that a branch of the phenylalanine ammonia lyase pathway is required for the native resistance ofArabidopsis seeds to Aspergillus.

2.  Use of biodegradable plastics in agriculture.  Degradation has historically been considered an undesirable attribute of plastic polymers, because breakdown shortens product life span and durability.  Recently, awareness of the environmental problems presented by plastic waste in the natural environment has made biodegradable plastics an attractive alternative to conventional plastic materials.  Although many plastic products bear the label “biodegradable” or “compostable”, in practice, degradation may be too inefficient for complete mineralization (conversion to biomass, carbon dioxide and/or methane, and water), except in specialized composting facilities.  In addition to slow degradation rates, misuse of the term “biodegradable” has led to distrust of these products by consumers.  Our lab studies the agricultural use of “biodegradable” plastics from a soil microbiology perspective, with a current focus on the effects of plastic fragments on the ecosystem and in particular, the soil microbiota.

Positions

Present Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Western Washington University Department of Biology
to



$
to
Enter a valid date range.

to
Enter a valid date range.


Contact Information

Phone: (360) 650-2920
Office: CB 282

Email: