Dr. Chuansheng Mei joined IALR in 2007 and was promoted to Chief Scientist in 2019 with the formation of the Plant Endophyte Research Center. Dr. Mei has been working on beneficial bacterial endophytes for more than 10 years. He was awarded a DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy grant from 2010-2014 for a project – Developing a low–input and sustainable switchgrass feedstock production system utilizing beneficial bacterial endophytes and studying mechanisms under which bacterial endophytes promote bioenergy crop switchgrass growth. Recently, Dr. Mei helped establish a bacterial endophyte library of more than 2,000 strains isolated from plants grown in various environments. He develops various assay methods, and his team has characterized their ability to produce IAA, ACC deaminase, and siderophores, to fix nitrogen, and to solubilize phosphate. His team focused on plant growth promotion by bacterial endophytes and discovered that some endophytes greatly improved growth of tall fescue KY31 in vitro, up to an eight-fold increase compared with untreated control plants. Currently, with support from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, his team is working on lettuce and spinach growth promotion and pathogen inhibition by bacterial endophytes in hydroponic systems including deep water cultivation, nutrient film technique, and indoor vertical. One bacterial endophyte, Pseudomonas psychrotolerans, has greatly promoted lettuce and spinach plant growth in hydroponic systems. Dr. Mei earned a bachelor’s degree in botany and a master’s degree in plant physiology from Nanjing Agricultural University. He earned his Ph.D. in plant molecular biology and genetic engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Molecular Biology Techniques – DNA and RNA isolation; PCR and real time PCR; Western blot analysis; ELISA; General enzyme activity assay; protein expression in bacteria and purification; DNA sequence analysis; GUS assay; plant hormone jasmonic acid isolation and quantification with GC-MS; plant growth regulators for growth and stress test.
- Microbial Characterization – N-fixation assay; P solubilization assay; siderophore production assay; auxin production assay; ACC deaminase activity assay; bacterial colonization bioassay.
- Plant Tissue Culture and Micropropagation – A large-scale Miscanthus x giganteus micropropagation technique; Rice anther culture.
- Plant Transformation Techniques – Gene cloning; Vector construction; dsRNA interference; biolistic and Agrobacterium transformation techniques; rice, maize, switchgrass, alfalfa, and tobacco transformation.
- Chemical Analysis Techniques – Familiar with analytic chromatographic techniques, such as GC, HPLC, and GC-MS.
Recent Publications and Presentations
- Mei C, Amaradasa BS, Chretien RL, Liu D, Snead G, Samtani JB, Lowman S. 2021. A Potential Application of Endophytic Bacteria in Strawberry Production. Horticulturae 7(11):504. https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7110504
- Mei C, Chretien RL, Amaradasa BS, He Y, Turner A, Lowman S. 2021. Characterization of phosphate solubilizing bacterial endophytes and plant growth promotion in vitro and in greenhouse. Microorganisms 9(9):1935. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9091935
- Mei C, Amaradasa S, Sikaroodi M, Zhang X, Gillevet P, Nowak J and Lowman S. 2021. Potential application of plant growth promoting bacteria in bioenergy crop production. In: Microbiome Stimulants for Crops. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-822122-8.00014-5.
- Amaradasa BS, Turner A, Lowman S, Mei C. 2020. First report of southern blight caused by Sclerotium rolfsii in industrial hemp in southern Virginia. Plant Dis 104(5):1563.
- Kearl J, McNary C, Lowman JS, Mei C, Aanderud ZT, Smith ST, West J, Colton E, Hamson M, Nielsen BL. 2019. Salt-tolerant halophyte rhizosphere bacteria stimulate growth of alfalfa in salty soil. Front Microbiol 10:1849.
- Mei C, Zhou D, Chretien RL, Turner A, Evans MR and Lowman S. A potential application of Pseudomonas psychrotolerans IALR632 for lettuce growth promotion in hydroponic system. Oral presentation in American Society of Horticultural Sciences annual meeting held in Chicago, IL, 7/30/2022- 8/3/2022 (under review for publication in Microorganisms).
- Zhou D, Mei C, Chretien RL, Amaradasa S, South K, Lowman S, Evans MR. Growth promotion and disease control of hydroponic spinach utilizing beneficial bacterial endophytes. Oral presentation in American Society of Horticultural Sciences annual meeting held in Chicago, IL, 7/30/2022- 8/3/2022.