Project Partners

Stéphane Declerck (BCCM/MUCL, Belgium)

Picture of Stephane Declerck

Prof. Stéphane Declerck is a full professor at the UCL and has over 10 years experience in scientific research on AMF. He is author/co-author of about 40 peer reviewed scientific papers. He is head of the “unité de microbiologie” (45 staff members), director of the BCCM/MUCL fungal collection (15 staff members) and of GINCO (3 staff members).  He is the leader of the research group on AMF that comprises 16 persons. He is coordinator and partner of several EU projects in the 5th and 6th framework.

The ‘Unité de Microbiologie’ belongs to the ‘Université catholique de Louvain’ (Belgium). UCL/MBLA is active in the field of microbiology applied to food processes and environments. It hosts the ‘Mycothèque of UCL’ (BCCM/MUCL), the 4th largest world collection of fungi, yeasts and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) of agro-food and environmental interest. It also hosts the Glomeromycota IN vitro COllection (GINCO), the largest world collection of AMF strictly cultured in vitro. BCCM/MUCL and GINCO are recognized as International Depository Authority for the preservation of patented strains under the Budapest treaty and operates as an ISO 9001:2000 certificated biological resource centre with facilities for preservation and distribution of fungal cultures. The major research topics of the laboratory are biodiversity, taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology and physiology.


Mycothèque de l'Universite catholique de Louvain,                               
Place Croix du Sud 3,
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve,
Belgium .
Tel: +32 10 47 37 42
Fax: +32 10 45 15 01

Angela Sessitsch (AIT, Austria)

Dr. Angela Sessitsch heads the Bioresources Unit (since 2004; app. 25 regular staff members) and leads a group working on the ecology of microbial communities. Dr. Sessitsch is author of app. 70 peer-reviewed publications and co-inventor of two patents. She is ad-hoc expert of the EFSA GMO Panel assessing environmental safety of transgenic organisms. She has been coordinator/partner of many national and international projects relevant to the topic of this project (partner in POTATOCONTROL, QLK3-CT-2000-01598; Co-ordinator of PATHORGANIC,

The Bioresources Unit has dedicated laboratories for molecular biology and microbiology, greenhouse facilities as well as sequencing and microarray facilities. The group is well known for its long-standing research on the diversity and functioning of soil and plant-associated microbial communities. Expertise exists in the analysis of microbial communities by using a range of molecular techniques including community fingerprinting analysis (T-RFLP, DGGE), quantitative PCR, sequence and microarray analysis. Phylogenetic markers are applied to analyse structural diversity, whereas a range of functional markers is used to analyse the functional potential of microbial communities (e.g. nifH, acdS, etc.). Metagenomics is applied and further developed in order to identify novel genes of soil and plant-associated microbial communities.


AIT Austrian Institute of Technology,
Konrad Lorenz Strasse 24,
3430 Tulln an der Donau,
Tel: +43 50550 3509
Fax: +43 50550 3666


Barbara Doyle Prestwich (UCC, Ireland)

Dr. Barbara Doyle Prestwich (B.Sc., Ph.D). Honours B.Sc. in Genetics (U. London 1993). PhD (UCC).  Researcher on EU Project FAIR5 PL97-3889.  Expert in Genetic Engineering and Molecular Markers in Tempus JEP-12037097. College lecturer in ZEPS UCC since 1998.  Currently principal investigator on IP/2005/247 + IP/2008/247E and IP/2008/247F Enterprise-Ireland funded research projects.

We are an internationally recognized centre for training in Plant Biotechnology and have run training courses for UNESCO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and for local agencies.  Our lab was a partner in COMMINANDES(CEE ICA4-CT02-10016) ‘ Sustainable potato production in Andean urban and peri-urban areas by combining bio-composting and microbial inoculants’.  We were also a partner in EC FAIR 3889 (completed in 2001) ‘Development and validation of broad spectrum molecular diagnostics’ and in  PLANTS (IST-2001-38900.

The plant science building is located within the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES). Plant science facilities include dedicated laboratories for molecular biology, radiation research, plant pathology, plant tissue culture, an image analysis and extensive growthroom facilities for heterotrophic and autotrophic plant tissue culture, greenhouses licenced for GM and pathogen containment.


School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University College Cork
Butler Building
Distillery Fields
North Mall
Tel: + 353 21 490 4559
Fax: +353 21 4904664

Paul De Vos (U-Gent, Belgium)

Prof. Paul De Vos is full professor at the University Ghent and has over 30 years experience in scientific research on bacterial taxonomy and fermentation. He is author/co-author of about 170 peer reviewed scientific papers. He is head of the department and one of the three full professors of the LM-UGent (40 staff members) and director of the BCCM/LMG bacteria collection (15-20 staff members).  He is the direct leader of research group of about 10 persons (5 PhD students, 3 technicians and 1 post Doc). P. De Vos was partner/coordinator in various national/international (FWO, IWT, EU) projects.

The laboratory for Microbiology (LM-UGent) belongs to the Department of ‘Biochemistry and Microbiology‘ of the Faculty of Sciences at the University Ghent. The laboratory is well known for its expertise in bacterial taxonomy of a wide variety of bacteria amongst which also a vast number of plant-related/plant pathogenic bacteria.

In close synergy with the LM-UGent, the BCCM/LMG bacteria collection operates as an ISO 9001:2000 certificated Biological Resource Centre with facilities for preservation and distribution of bacterial cultures. The BCCM/LMG bacteria collection currently holds >23.000 strains , representing more than 500 genera and 3.500 species, subspecies or pathovars with a quite complete coverage of plant pathogenic bacteria.


Laboratory for Microbiology,
University of Gent,
K.L. Ledeganckstraat, 35
B-9000 Gent
Tel: +32 9 264 5110
Fax: +32 9 264 5092

Arthur Schüßler (LMU, Germany)

Prof. Dr. A. Schüßler is group leader at LMU and participates in national and international research project and networks with 15 years experience in research on Glomeromycota (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, AMF). He is author/co-author on approx. 35 peer reviewed publications. He coordinates the Marie Curie TRACEAM project about molecular tracing of AMF in agricultural fields ( and leads a project about molecular characterisation, application, and tracing of AMF for reforestation in Ecuador (DFG RU816,, with two Ecuadorian partner universities.

The Genetics Institute of the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) Munich (Germany) is active in the field of genetics, botany, mycology, and microbiology applied to symbioses between plants, rhizobia, and AMF. LMU is one of the first Universities of Excellence in Germany. The Genetics institute runs the genomics service unit of the Department Biology with its Sanger-sequencing service (ABI capillary sequencers), metagenomics facilities, genomics and genetics equipment. It is internationally well known for high impact scientific publications on the field of plant-microbe interactions and AMF diversity. It hosts an AMF culture collection including the collection of Dr. Chris Walker (in collaboration with GINCO), and isolates from South Ecuador.

The major research topics of the laboratory are symbiosis research and fungal taxonomy (, phylogeny, ecology and molecular biodiversity studies, including DNA barcoding. Nutrient transport of AMF is another research topic. The laboratory provides the AMF database for 'species2000' ( and Index Fungorum (CABI), and is official contributor to the Dictionary of the Fungi.


Genetics, Room E03.057 
Department Biology I, LMU Munich ,
Grosshaderner Str. 4
D-82152 Planegg-Martinsried,
Tel: +49 89 2180 74730
Fax: +49 89 2180 74702  

Javier Franco (PROINPA, Bolivia)

Dr. J. Franco moved from the International Potato Centre (CIP) in Lima, Peru, to head the Nematology Department of PROINPA in Bolivia. He has acquired experience in Nematology over a period of 25 years. As a staff scientist at both CIP and PROINPA, he has worked in several aspects for the development of integrated management strategies.  He has published more than 70 scientific and technical publications.  In the last few years he has also co-participated in projects funded by the EU and others by PSP and CPP from DFID (UK) and he now leads projects on Integrated Pest and Crop Management

PROINPA is an independent foundation whose main objective is the alleviation of rural and urban poverty, improving the incomes of the farming sector, favoring its access to the market and promoting the availability of food and preserving natural resources.

The Foundation operates by identifying demands from different actors of Andean crop productive chains, generating and validating technology alternatives and diffusing technologies generated using participatory methods. PROINPA works in the Altiplano, interAndean and Mesothermic valleys and has selected impact areas representing each agro-ecology zone, where it works directly with farm families. The Foundation aims to generate, promote and diffuse technological innovations to improve the food security of Bolivian rural families and the competitiveness of productive chains of Andean crops and others.


Fundación PROINPA Foundation
Casilla Postal 4285,
Av. Meneces, Km 4, El Paso,
Tel: +591 4319595
Fax: +591 4319600


Juan Pablo Suárez Chacón (UTPL, Ecuador)

Dr. Juan Pablo Suárez Chacón has experience in molecular characterization of mycorrhizas since 5 years. He is leading the Mycorrhiza Group in the Centro de Biología Celular y Molecular (CBCM)  at the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL). Also he is the Research Vice-rector in UTPL.

UTPL has a research policy based in more than 20 research centers distributed in all their four strategic areas. UTPL developed a strategy in alliance with different Universities in Europe and America. This allowed the initiation of near 210 academics in Ph.D studies since it was introduced four years ago, with UTPL being the first Ecuadorian University with such a program as “Institutional Policy”. The UTPL also is the national leader in 'distance education' since 30 years. The UTPL supports projects based in a participatory methodology that often involve students around the Country in “puzzle-system” approaches.

UTPL implemented a Centro de Biología Celular y Molecular (CBCM) in collaboration with University Tübingen (Germany). This has lead to a Working Group on Mycorrhizas, now collaborating with Universities Tübingen and Munich. For studying AMF, UTPL is active counterpart in the project "AM for reforestation" led by Arthur Schüßler (LMU, partner 4) within the German Research Unit 816 (RU816). IMSS (Institute of Sustainable Soils Management) in a joint project with Technological University of Dresden, TUD, and Spanish Universities, has the aim of link different approaches related with soil use and management.


Centro de Biología Celular y Molecular (CBCM),
Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL),
San Cayetano Alto s/n. Loja,
C.P.11 01 608.
Tel: +593 7 2570275 ext 2516
Fax: +593 7 2584893

Peter Kromann (CIP, Peru)

Dr. Peter Kromann has a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Life Sciences, Denmark; MSc and BSc in agricultural and horticultural sciences from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark. He has nine years of experience in research and development projects with the International Potato Center, including administrative, representative and financial responsibilities at the CIP-Quito liaison office in Ecuador. He has extensive experience with farmer participative research, capacity building events, collaboration with farmer associations and national research programs, and other themes related to intensification of smallholder production. Currently, he is based at the International Potato Center’s (CIP) regional office in Quito, Ecuador, conducting research for development on potato IPM, seed systems, crop growth, soil-water-plant relations under different climatic and management conditions in the Andean region.

CIP is truly a global center, with headquarters in Lima, Peru and offices in 30 developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Working closely with our partners, CIP furthers its mission through rigorous research, innovation in science and technology, and capacity strengthening regarding root and tuber farming and food systems. CIP is part of the CGIAR Consortium, a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. Donors include individual countries, major foundations, and international entities.


International Potato Center (CIP),
Regional Potato Scientist
Panamericana Sur Km 1,
P.O. Box 17-21-1977, Quito, Ecuador
Tel: +593 2 300 6443
Fax: +593 2 300 6154