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2024 Speakers

Siti Nor Akmar Abdullah

Siti Nor Akmar Abdullah, Speaker at Plant Biotechnology Conferences
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
Title : Unravelling molecular mechanism at early stage of ganoderma boninense infection of oil palm for an effective disease mitigation strategies


Ganoderma boninense is a hemibiotrophic fungal pathogen that causes major loss of revenue to oil palm industry. Physical symptoms in the field can only be observed at the advanced stage of infection when severe and often irreversible physiological damage has occurred. Understanding of the molecular mechanism during early infection stage would enable employment of a more effective intervention strategies to prolong the economic lifespan of field palms. Our studies revealed potential biomarkers through transcriptomics and metabolomics analysis at the early phase of Ganoderma boninense infection before the appearance of physical symptoms. Involvement of key transcription factors in coordinating cellular responses during the biotrophic phase and subsequent transition to necrotrophic showed the activation of different defence response pathways that can be exploited in developing effective mitigation strategies. The development of an aptamer-based onside biosensor as an early diagnostic tool based on the results of the studies will be elaborated. Electron microscopic analysis revealed the positive effects of an anti-Ganoderma chemical fertiliser and endophytic bacteria as a biocontrol agent in reducing cellular damage. The illustration of potential link with the defence pathway genes at the early stage of infection that have been discovered will provide strong evidence supporting their applications and initial efforts on this will be presented.


Dr. Siti Nor Akmar is a Professor in Plant Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). She is also a Research Associate of the Institute of Plantation Studies (IKP), UPM where she was a previous Institute Director (2016 – 2019). She is a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia. She is an Editorial Board Member of BMC Plant Biology, Springer Nature. Her research is on oil palm molecular biology and genomics to study defence response to Ganoderma boninense, phosphate uptake mechanism and improvement of Vit. E. She has published more than 100 journal papers and books.

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