Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research to help fight widespread potato disease

08.11.2007
Scientists have made a key discovery into the genetics of the bacteria that causes blackleg, an economically damaging disease of potatoes, that could lead to new ways to fight the disease.

The researchers at the University of Cambridge, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), found that if a particular gene is inactivated in the bacterium Erwinia carotovora, its ability to damage the plant and cause disease is severely impeded. The research was recently published in the Journal of Bacteriology.

Erwinia carotovora can cause disease in a wide range of plants, including carrots, tomatoes and onions, but is best known in temperate regions for causing blackleg and soft rot in potatoes. Its success partly lies in its ability to produce enzymes which break down its host's cell walls. The degraded cell walls provide nutrients to the bacterium, and so aid its survival and growth.

The Cambridge researchers discovered that if they inactivated a gene called relA, which helps the bacteria recognise when nutrients are running low, then the bacteria's ability to export enzymes to break down the plant's cell walls is also abolished.

Research leader Dr Martin Welch explains: "Blackleg is a significant economic problem, substantially reducing crop yields.

"We have shown that the production of cell wall degrading enzymes is genetically linked to not only signalling abilities but also to the bacterium's nutritional status. This has important implications for researchers looking for new ways to control the disease. By improving our understanding of how Erwinia carotovora rots the plant, we can reveal additional, possibly novel targets for the eventual development of anti-rot agents. We have also opened up the potential to develop pesticides."

Dr Mike Storey, R&D Director of the British Potato Council, commented in response to the research findings: "Blackleg is one of the key diseases across all sectors of the British potato industry. The findings from the University of Cambridge are important as they could offer novel solutions, both to help store potatoes and to control the disease.

"Soft rots in particular are a concern for many crops going in store this season because of the warm and wet growing conditions. We rely on careful storage management as most varieties of potato have no inbuilt resistance to soft rot and there are no available pesticides."

Michelle Kilfoyle | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk
http://www.potato.org.uk/bp2007

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bodyguards in the gut have a chemical weapon

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet

20.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Treated carbon pulls radioactive elements from water

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>