Dutch researcher Daniël van den Broek investigated bacteria which fight fungal infections in plants. Spontaneous variations in the phase of these bacteria reduce the anti-fungal protective function but increase the bacterias competitive advantage and with this their chances of survival.
Scientists worldwide are looking for biological alternatives to chemical pesticides in order to protect crops against pathogens. One of these is the use of bacteria which protect plants, for example, by producing antifungal substances. Daniël van den Broek investigated how to improve the reliability of crop protection methods that use these microorganisms.
Van den Broek studied Pseudomonas bacteria. The molecular biologist first of all isolated and described these bacteria, which are found in or on the roots of maize. Of the 214 strains isolated, 46 were found to suppress the growth of pathogenic fungi, for example those which cause black root rot. In total 43 of these 46 medicinal strains spontaneously switched between the two phases.
Dr Daniël van den Broek | alfa
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