AgronomyDiseasesPotato Blight Pathogen Cuts into Potato Plant to Infect It

Potato Blight Pathogen Cuts into Potato Plant to Infect It

-

Researchers have discovered the potato blight pathogen uses a “sharp knife” to cut into potato plants and infect them, a July 2 news release from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) says.

Experts in plant pathology, cell biology and physics at WUR teamed up to research how the late blight pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, gains entry to potato plants and then infects them, the release says. Despite being microscopically small the pathogen has been able to get through plant’s protective layers.

“We discovered that Phytophthora uses clever tricks to sharpen its tubular infection structure to then cut through the surface of the plant with a sharp knife. Using this strategy, Phytophthora is able to infect its host, without brute force and with minimal consumption of energy,” Joris Sprakel, a WUR professor in physical chemistry and soft matter, says in the release.

To protect plants against this infection researchers are testing options which are non-chemical and not using plant breeding. In one test the research team sprayed the leaves of potato plants with a non-toxic and inexpensive substance which removed the leaf’s stickiness, the release notes. It resulted in a reduction of around 65 per cent in the level of infection — it even rose towards 100 per cent in an optimized trial on artificial surfaces.

The research also showed a new methodology for testing — a kind of rapid testing method which can reveal the effect and efficiency of pesticides in a rapid, accurate and inexpensive way, the report says. These novel tools could also make significant contributions to the ongoing battle against plant diseases.

Their findings were published in Nature Microbiology.

Related Articles

Irish Potato Famine Late Blight Strain Found on Six Continents

U.S. Researchers Discover Wild Potato Genes for Late Blight Resistance

Potato blight’s chemical attack mechanism explained

Trending This Week

Do Field Trials Matter? Only If We Start With The Right Questions

0
There are people who are passionate about their projects, and then there are people who take passion for their projects to a whole different...

Introducing… This Year’s Top Innovations!

0
The potato industry is at an all-time high for innovation. Incredible new technologies and products are being launched across the potato value chain. That’s great...
Grocery store potatoes

U.S. Lawmakers Push to Keep Potatoes Classified as Vegetables

0
Media reports say the potato could soon be classified as a grain in the United States dietary guidelines. Fourteen U.S. senators have written a letter...

The Unintended Limits of Organic Farming

0
I had a conversation some weeks ago that has really stuck with me. The conversation was with Joy Youwakim, an agroecology scientist at Biome...
Family at sunset

Farmers Need to Find Time for Family

0
The dance between work and family time on farms is a polarity. Polarities are never solved, but must be managed, demanding an intentional decision....