AgronomyDiseasesPotato Blight Pathogen 'Knife' Sharpening Mystery Solved

Potato Blight Pathogen ‘Knife’ Sharpening Mystery Solved

-

Researchers have now discovered how the potato blight pathogen sharpens its knife when attacking a plant by slicing open its skin, a June 13 news release from Wageningen University and Research said. Last year, the team found out how the potato blight pathogen uses a “sharp knife” to cut into potato plants and infect them, but they didn’t know how the microscopic attackers sharpen their weapons.

The late blight pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, hitchhikes on water droplets during rainfall, and when it lands on the leaf, an ingenious mechanism is activated, the release said. The single-celled water mold contains an internal skeleton in the tubular structure it wields as its weapon of attack.

“The scientists discovered that this cell skeleton, formed from threadlike proteins, in no-time – within 10 seconds – detects the contact with the plant and senses how strong the plant pushes back. Using this information, the cell regroups its proteins to form a ninja-like blade with a sharp point, which it uses to cut open the leaf,” the release said.

The researchers also found that the same mechanism, which they call a mechanostat, makes sure that the tip of the tubular weapon remains sharp throughout the infection process, like a self-sharpening knife.

“Since the weapon is made from the same materials as the plant, without this trick, it would quickly become blunt and unable to cut. By forming increasingly strong threads of proteins at the tip of the tube, the mechanostat takes care that the blade remains sharp during the cutting process.”

The release noted that now that it’s clear how Phytophthora begins its infectious lifestyle in the plant, the next step is to investigate pest controls. The new research project will begin shortly.

Related Articles

Potato Blight Pathogen Cuts into Potato Plant to Infect It

New Environmentally Friendly Control Method for Late Blight Discovered

New Way Found for How Late Blight Infects Potatoes

Trending This Week

Up to 68 Per Cent of Potato Seed Could be Infected With Verticillium

Let me throw a shocking number at you: 68 per cent. A recent scientific research paper stated that up to 68 per cent of...

Tackling Moisture When it’s Too Much / Too Little / Too Late.

0
Moisture is the most universally challenging factor in potato production: there never seems to be the right amount at the right time. On May...
Cell phone

There’s an App for That – Helping Culinarians Pick the Perfect Potato

0
I know not everyone agrees with my stance on the importance of varietal labeling. One thing I think we can all agree on is...

World Potato Congress: Confronting Climate Challenges and Cultivating a Sustainable Future

0
Adelaide is set to host the 12th World Potato Congress from June 23-26, 2024. This global event will bring together farmers, researchers, and industry...

Know Your Soil Moisture

0
Irrigation management means soil moisture monitoring is imperative. Irrigation management is about deciding when to irrigate and how much water to apply. When irrigations are...