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Don Smith

Dr Donald L. Smith
James McGill Professor
Department of Plant Science
Phone: 514-398-7866
Fax: 514-398-7897
donald [dot] smith [at] mcgill [dot] ca (E-mail)

Research interests

Dr Smith's research interests are in the area of crop eco-physiology. They can be broken down into several specific areas of activity. One of these is the use of signal compounds to improve legume nitrogen fixation under environmental conditions inhibitory to symbiosis development. This work has led to a number of publications, patents, and the establishment of a spin-off company. A second area is the use of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), and signal compound produced by them, to increase the growth and yield many crops. This led to the isolation of several new PGPR strains and the isolation of a material, produced by a PGPR, that causes direct stimulation of plant growth. A third area of research is the use of the signal compounds produced by rhizobia during the establishment of the rhizobia-legume symbiosis to directly promote plant growth. Fourth, research is methods to increase the sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere into crop plants, including the use of biochar, for ultimate sequestration into soil, or for use in bioproducts.  This is linked to the utilization of crop plants in greenhouse gas management, including use of lignocellulosics produced by crop plants as biofuel feedstocks. For more on biofuel research, see the BioFuelNet website.

Sample of recent publications

Wang N, Khan W, Smith DL 2012. Soybean global gene expression after application of lipo-chitooligosaccharide from Bradyrhizobium japonicum under sub-optimal temperature.  PLoS ONE 7(2): e31571. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031571.

Lee KD, Gray EJ, Mabood F, Jung WJ, Charles T, Clark SRD, Ly A, Souleimanov A, Zhou X, Smith DL 2009. The class IId bacteriocin thuricin 17 increases plant growth. Planta 229:747-755.

Almaraz JJ, Mabood F, Zhou X, Gregorich EG and Smith DL 2008. Climate change, weather variability and corn yield at a higher latitude locale: southwestern Quebec.  Climatic Change 88:187-197. 

Almaraz J, Zhou X and Smith DL 2007. Gas exchange characteristics and dry matter accumulation of soybean treated with Nod factors. J Plant Phys 164:1391-1393.

Mabood F, Souleimanov A, Khan W and Smith DL 2006. Jasmonates induce Nod factor production by Bradyrhizobium japonicum. Plant Physiol Biochem 44:759–765.

Gray E, Di Falco M, Souleimanov A and Smith DL 2006. Proteomic analysis of the bacteriocin, thuricin 17 produced by Bacillus thuringiensisNEB17. FEMS Microbiology Letters 255:27–32.

Mabood F, Zhou X, Lee KD, Smith DL 2006. Methyl jasmonate, alone or in combination with genistein, and Bradyrhizobium japonicum increases soybean (Glycine max L.) plant dry matter production and grain yield under short season conditions. Field Crops Research 95:412-419.

Mabood F and Smith DL 2005. Pre-incubation of Bradyrhizobium japonicum with jasmonates accelerates nodulation and nitrogen fixation in soybean (Glycine max) at optimal and suboptimal root zone temperatures. Physiologia Plantarum 125:311-325.

Gray, E.J. and Smith, D.L. 2005. Intracellular and Extracellular PGPR: Commonalities and distinctions in the plant-bacterium signaling processes. Soil Biol Biochem 37:395-412.

Smith, D.L. and Almaraz, J.J. 2004. Climate change and crop production: Contributions, impacts and adaptations. Can J Plant Pathol 26: 253–266.