A recent study has found why a wild potato variety called S. chacoense is resistant to Pectobacterium, which cause various devastating diseases in potatoes, a news release about the study says.
The study was published the Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions journal and was done by scientists at Colorado State University (CSU). The group found that metabolites from S. chacoense contribute to disease resistance by altering the pathogenic behaviour of Pectobacterium brasiliense, rather than inhibiting its growth or killing it.
“We tested if chemicals extracted from the wild potato affect the behavior of the bacterium and found that these inhibited their ability to produce the enzymes that degrade plant cell walls. The chemicals also intercepted their ability to communicate with each other. To use a battle analogy, the wild potato plant chemicals intercepted the bacteria’s missiles, they cut off their radio communications, and together this encouraged the bacteria to remain friendly neighbors,” explains Adam Heuberger, a CSU associate professor involved in the research.
“This wild potato is also resistant to insects, viruses, and fungi. The question is always why, and then how, we can translate this information to improve society. There is much to learn by studying wild relatives of food and ornamental plants,” Heuberger adds.