Oaks in Tubes. Photo: André Künzelmann/UFZ

Group: Oak

Head: Dr. Sylvie Herrmann   ( Email , Web )
  • Dr. Iván Fernández López
  • Dr. Marie-Lara Bouffaud
PhD Students
  • Jean de Dieu Habiyaremye
  • Ines Krieg
  • Barbara Krause
Guest Scientists
  • Markus Bönn

Research Topics

Ectomycorrhizal symbiosis and gene regulation

Ectomycorrhizal symbiosis of different EM strains was tested under controlled conditions in a Petri-dish culture system on micropropagated trees or seedlings. Beech and oak seedlings grown in greenhouses of a forestry seedling nursery in Baden-Württemberg were inoculated with selected ectomycorrhizal (EM) strains of Paxillus involutus and cultivated under different fertilization levels. Mycorrhizal non-fertilized greenhouse plants showed a higher vitality and increased performance after outplanting on disturbed soils.

A model system for ectomycorrhizal symbiosis between micropropagated oaks and EM fungi has been established. Modifications of rhythmic root and shoot development after fungal inoculation have been studied.
In particular, the fungus Piloderma croceum modified markedly the entire plant development already before mycorrhiza formation occurred. Activated charcoal and plant hormone auxin were able to induce a partial reversion of these morphogenetical effects On the established oak model system, the current studies are involved in the regulation of photosynthesis, carbon-transfer and -translocation and differential gene expression before and at the early state of mycorrhizal symbiosis.

Since 2005 the Oak Group is in charge of two oak experimental platforms. In the frame of the DFG TrophinOak research project, we first implemented a unit to produce microcosms with oak microcutting trees, that all belong to the same clone of pedunculated oak (DF159). Under highly controlled laboratory conditions, we use the system to analyze the impact of the endogenous rhythmic growth with alternating growth flushes in root and shoot on the interplay between plant development and above- or belowground multitrophic interactions. Using transcriptome analyses and pulse labelling with stable isotopes, this enables to compare symbiotic interactions with diverse ectomycorrhizal fungi, but also beneficial and detrimental interactions with microorganisms and animals at different phases of the rhythmic growth. The results of such lab analyses constitute a baseline of our “PhytOakmeter”, a second platform to monitor the behavior of clonal oaks during field release experiments under various climatic and land use conditions.

Projects / Research Platforms

Research platform: TrophinOak and PhytOakmeter

The Oak group/Dr. Sylvie Herrmann is in charge of the coordination of the TrophinOak - PhytOakmeter platform.

The group is responsible for the “Oak DF159 micropropagation unit” and delivers all oaks used for lab and field experimentation in the frame of the research platform.

TrophinOak - PhytOakmeter
TrophinOak project


  • Dr. Francis Martin, Dr. Annegret Koehler
    INRA Nancy (F),  Web
  • Dr. Antoine Kraemer, Dr. Christophe Plomion
    INRA Bordeaux Pierroton (F),  Web
  • Prof Dr. Thorsten Grams  ( Email )

    Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Sciences, Ecophysiology of Plants, Technische Universität München von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising,  Web

  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Matyssek  ( Email )
    Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Sciences, Ecophysiology of Plants, Technische Universität München, von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising,  Web
  • Dr. Frank Fleischmann  ( Email )
    Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Sciences, Pathology of Woody Plants,Technische Universität München, von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising,  Web
  • Prof. Dr. Liliane Ruess  ( Email )
    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Biologie, AG Ökologie, Philippstraße 13 10115 Berlin,  Web
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Scheu  ( Email )
    J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Georg August University Goettingen, Berliner Str. 28, 37073 Goettingen,  Web
  • Prof. Roland Brandl  ( Email )

    Philipps-Universität Marburg FB Biologie / Lehrstuhl Allgemeine Ökologie und Tierökologie Karl-von-Frisch-Str., 35032 Marburg,  Web

  • Dr. Silvia Schrey  ( Email )

    Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Wilhelm-Johnen-Straße, 52428 Jülich

  • Dr. Carsten Milkowski ( Email )
    Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Nutzpflanzenforschung (IZN), Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 8, 06120 Halle (Saale),  Web

2018 (4)

  • Eisenhauer, N., Herrmann, S., Hines, J., Buscot, F., Siebert, J., Thakur, M.P., (2018):
    The dark side of animal phenology
    Trends Ecol. Evol. 33 (12), 898 - 901
    full text (url)
  • Ferlian, O., Biere, A., Bonfante, P., Buscot, F., Eisenhauer, N., Fernandez, I., Hause, B., Herrmann, S., Krajinski-Barth, F., Meier, I.C., Pozo, M.J., Rasmann, S., Rillig, M.C., Tarkka, M.T., van Dam, N.M., Wagg, C., Martinez-Medina, A., (2018):
    Growing research networks on mycorrhizae for mutual benefits
    Trends Plant Sci. 23 (11), 975 - 984
    full text (url)
  • Ferlian, O., Cesarz, S., Craven, D., Hines, J., Barry, K.E., Bruelheide, H., Buscot, F., Haider, S., Heklau, H., Herrmann, S., Herrmann, S., Kühn, P., Pruschitzki, U., Schädler, M., Wagg, C., Weigelt, A., Wubet, T., Eisenhauer, N., (2018):
    Mycorrhiza in tree diversity–ecosystem function relationships: conceptual framework and experimental implementation
    Ecosphere 9 (5), e02226
    full text (url)
  • Plomion, C., Aury, J.-M., Amselem, J., Leroy, T., Murat, F., Duplessis, S., Faye, S., Francillonne, N., Labadie, K., Le Provost, G., Lesur, I., Bartholomé, J., Faivre-Rampant, P., Kohler, A., Leplé, J.-C., Chantret, N., Chen, J., Diévart, A., Alaeitabar, T., Barbe, V., Belser, C., Bergès, H., Bodénès, C., Bogeat-Triboulot, M.-B., Bouffaud, M.-L., Brachi, B., Chancerel, E., Cohen, D., Couloux, A., Da Silva, C., Dossat, C., Ehrenmann, F., Gaspin, C., Grima-Pettenati, J., Guichoux, E., Hecker, A., Herrmann, S., Hugueney, P., Hummel, I., Klopp, C., Lalanne, C., Lascoux, M., Lasserre, E., Lemainque, A., Desprez-Loustau, M.-L., Luyten, I., Madoui, M.-A., Mangenot, S., Marchal, C., Maumus, F., Mercier, J., Michotey, C., Panaud, O., Picault, N., Rouhier, N., Rué, O., Rustenholz, C., Salin, F., Soler, M., Tarkka, M., Velt, A., Zanne, A.E., Martin, F., Wincker, P., Quesneville, H., Kremer, A., Salse, J., (2018):
    Oak genome reveals facets of long lifespan
    Nat. Plants 4 , 440 - 452
    full text (url)

2017 (1)

  • Maboreke, H.R., Graf, M., Grams, T.E.E., Herrmann, S., Scheu, S., Ruess, L., (2017):
    Multitrophic interactions in the rhizosphere of a temperate forest tree affect plant carbon flow into the belowground food web
    Soil Biol. Biochem. 115 , 526 - 536
    full text (url)

2016 (2)

  • Herrmann, S., Grams, T.E.E., Tarkka, M.T., Angay, O., Bacht, M., Bönn, M., Feldhahn, L., Graf, M., Kurth, F., Maboreke, H., Mailander, S., Recht, S., Fleischmann, F., Ruess, L., Schädler, M., Scheu, S., Schrey, S., Buscot, F., (2016):
    Endogenous rhythmic growth, a trait suitable for the study of interplays between multitrophic interactions and tree development
    Perspect. Plant Ecol. Evol. Syst. 19 , 40 - 48
    full text (url)
  • Maboreke, H.R., Feldhahn, L., Bönn, M., Tarkka, M.T., Buscot, F., Herrmann, S., Menzel, R., Ruess, L., (2016):
    Transcriptome analysis in oak uncovers a strong impact of endogenous rhythmic growth on the interaction with plant-parasitic nematodes
    BMC Genomics 17 , art. 627
    full text (url)

2015 (5)

  • Caravaca, F., Maboreke, H., Kurth, F., Herrmann, S., Tarkka, M.T., Ruess, L., (2015):
    Synergists and antagonists in the rhizosphere modulate microbial communities and growth of Quercus robur L.
    Soil Biol. Biochem. 82 , 65 - 73
    full text (url)
  • Herrmann, S., Recht, S., Boenn, M., Feldhahn, L., Angay, O., Fleischmann, F., Tarkka, M.T., Grams, T.E.E., Buscot, F., (2015):
    Endogenous rhythmic growth in oak trees is regulated by internal clocks rather than resource availability
    J. Exp. Bot. 66 (22), 7113 - 7127
    full text (url)
  • Kohler, A., Kuo, A., Nagy, L.G., Morin, E., Barry, K.W., Buscot, F., Canbäck, B., Choi, C., Cichocki, N., Clum, A., Colpaert, J., Copeland, A., Costa, M.D., Doré, J., Floudas, D., Gay, D., Girlanda, M., Henrissat, B., Herrmann, S., Hess, J., Högberg, N., Johansson, T., Khouja, H.-R., La Butti, K., Lahrmann, U., Levasseur, A., Lindquist, E.A., Lipzen, A., Marmeisse, R., Martino, E., Murat, C., Chew, Y., Ngan, C.Y., Nehls, U., Plett, J.M., Pringle, A., Ohm, R.A., Perotto, S.P., Riley, R., Rineau, F., Ruytinx, J., Salamov, A., Shah, F., Sun, H., Tarkka, M., Tritt, A., Veneault-Fourrey, C., Zuccaro, A., Tunlid, A., Grigoriev, I.V., Hibbett, D.S., Martin, F., (2015):
    Convergent losses of decay mechanisms and rapid turnover of symbiosis genes in mycorrhizal mutualists
    Nature Genet. 47 , 410 - 415
    full text (url)
  • Kurth, F., Feldhahn, L., Bönn, M., Herrmann, S., Buscot, F., Tarkka, M.T., (2015):
    Large scale transcriptome analysis reveals interplay between development of forest trees and a beneficial mycorrhiza helper bacterium
    BMC Genomics 16 , art. 658
    full text (url)
  • Lesur, I., Le Provost, G., Bento, P., Da Silva, C., Leplé, J.-C., Murat, F., Ueno, S., Bartholomé, J., Lalanne, C., Ehrenmann, F., Noirot, C., Burban, C., Léger, V., Amselem, J., Belser, C., Quesneville, H., Stierschneider, M., Fluch, S., Feldhahn, L., Tarkka, M., Herrmann, S., Buscot, F., Klopp, C., Kremer, A., Salse, J., Aury, J.-M., Plomion, C., (2015):
    The oak gene expression atlas: insights into Fagaceae genome evolution and the discovery of genes regulated during bud dormancy release
    BMC Genomics 16 , art. 112
    full text (url)

2014 (2)

  • Angay, O., Fleischmann, F., Recht, S., Herrmann, S., Matyssek, R., Oßwald, W., Buscot, F., Grams, T.E.E., (2014):
    Sweets for the foe – effects of nonstructural carbohydrates on the susceptibility of Quercus robur against Phytophthora quercina
    New Phytol. 203 (4), 1282 - 1290
    full text (url)
  • Kurth, F., Mailänder, S., Bönn, M., Feldhahn, L., Herrmann, S., Große, I., Buscot, F., Schrey, S.D., Tarkka, M.T., (2014):
    Streptomyces-induced resistance against oak powdery mildew involves host plant responses in defense, photosynthesis, and secondary metabolism pathways
    Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 27 (9), 891 - 900
    full text (url)

2013 (2)

  • Kurth, F., Zeitler, K., Feldhahn, L., Neu, T.R., Weber, T., Krištůfek, V., Wubet, T., Herrmann, S., Buscot, F., Tarkka, M.T., (2013):
    Detection and quantification of a mycorrhization helper bacterium and a mycorrhizal fungus in plant-soil microcosms at different levels of complexity
    BMC Microbiol. 13 , art. 205
    full text (url)
  • Tarkka, M.T., Herrmann, S., Wubet, T., Feldhahn, L., Recht, S., Kurth, F., Mailänder, S., Bönn, M., Neef, M., Angay, O., Bacht, M., Graf, M., Maboreke, H., Fleischmann, F., Grams, T.E.E., Ruess, L., Schädler, M., Brandl, R., Scheu, S., Schrey, S.D., Grosse, I., Buscot, F., (2013):
    OakContigDF159.1, a reference library for studying differential gene expression in Quercus robur during controlled biotic interactions: use for quantitative transcriptomic profiling of oak roots in ectomycorrhizal symbiosis
    New Phytol. 199 (2), 529 - 540
    full text (url)

2008 (1)

  • Herrmann, S., Buscot, F., (2008):
    Why and how using micropropagated trees rather than germinations for controlled synthesis of ectomycorrhizal associations?
    In: Varma, A., (ed.)
    Mycorrhiza. State of the art, genetics and molecular biology, eco-function, biotechnology, eco-physiology, structure and systematics
    Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, p. 439 - 466
    full text (url)

2007 (2)

  • Frettinger, P., Derory, J., Herrmann, S., Plomion, C., Lapeyrie, F., Oelmüller, R., Martin, F., Buscot, F., (2007):
    Transcriptional changes in two types of pre-mycorrhizal roots and in ectomycorrhizas of oak microcuttings inoculated with Piloderma croceum
    Planta 225 (2), 331 - 340
    full text (url)
  • Herrmann, S., Buscot, F., (2007):
    Cross talks at the morphogenetic, physiological and gene regulation levels between the mycobiont Piloderma croceum and oak microcuttings (Quercus robur) during formation of ectomycorrhizas
    Phytochemistry 68 (1), 52 - 67
    full text (url)

2006 (1)

  • Frettinger, P., Herrmann, S., Lapeyrie, F., Oelmüller, R., Buscot, F., (2006):
    Differential expression of two class III chitinases in two types of roots of Quercus robur during pre-mycorrhizal interactions with Piloderma croceum
    Mycorrhiza 16 (4), 219 - 223
    full text (url)

2004 (2)

  • Herrmann, S., Oelmüller, R., Buscot, F., (2004):
    Manipulation of the, onset of ectomycorrhiza formation by indole-3-acetic acid, activated charcoal or relative humidity in the association between oak microcuttings and Piloderma croceum: influence on plant development and photosynthesis
    J. Plant Physiol. 161 (5), 509 - 517
    full text (url)
  • Krüger, A., Peškan-Berghöfer, T., Frettinger, P., Herrmann, S., Buscot, F., Oelmüller, R., (2004):
    Identification of premycorrhiza-related plant genes in the association between Quercus robur and Piloderma croceum
    New Phytol. 163 (1), 149 - 157
    full text (url)

  • Mittasch, J., Böttcher, C., Frolova, N., Bönn, M., Milkowski, C., (2014):
    Identification of UGT84A13 as a candidate enzyme for the first committed step of gallotannin biosynthesis in pedunculate oak (Quercus robur)

    Phytochemistry 99 , 44 - 51  Volltext (PDF)

  • Buscot F., Herrmann S. (2004):
    At the frontier between basidiomycotes and plants: reciprocal interactions between mycorrhiza formation and root development in an in vitro system with oaks and hymenomycetes.
    In: R. Agerer, M. Piepenbring & P. Blanz (eds.) Frontiers in Basidiomycote Mycology. IHW-Verlag. Eching, pp. 361-376  Volltext (PDF)

  • Herrmann S., J.-C. Munch & F. Buscot (1998):
    A gnotobiotic culture sytem with oak microcuttings to study specific effects of mycobionts on plant morphology before, and in the early stage of, ectomycorrhiza formation by Paxillus involutus and Piloderma croceum.
    New Phytologist 138, 203-212
  • Caloin M., B. Clement & S. Herrmann (1991):
    Regrowth kinetics of Dactylis glomerata following root excision.
    Annals of Botany 68, 435-440  Volltext (PDF)