- Graz University of Technology
- Researchers were able to demonstrate how a specific bacterium inside the seeds of rice plants effectively and in an eco-friendly way inhibits destructive plant pathogens.Rice is the staple food of about half the world's population. The cultivation of the rice plant is very water-intensive and, according to the German aid organization Welthungerhilfe, around 15 per cent of rice is grown in areas with a high risk of drought. Global warming is therefore becoming increasingly problematic for rice cultivation, leading more and more often to small harvests and hunger crises. Crop failures caused by plant pathogens further aggravate the situation. Here, conventional agriculture is trying to counteract this with pesticides, which are mostly used as a precautionary measure in rice cultivation. The breeding of resistant plants is the only alternative to these environmentally harmful agents -- and currently only moderately successful. If the plants are resistant to one pathogen thanks to their breeding, they are usually more susceptible to other pathogens or are less robust under adverse environmental conditions.
Bacterium confers pathogen resistance
For this reason, an international research group which includes the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology at Graz University of Technology has been studying the microbiome of rice plant seeds for some time now in order to establish correlations between plant health and the occurrence of certain microorganisms. The group has now achieved a major breakthrough. They identified a bacterium inside the seed that can lead to complete resistance to a particular pathogen and is naturally transmitted from one plant generation to another. The findings published in the scientific journal Nature Plants provide a completely new basis for designing biological plant protection products and additionally reducing harmful biotoxins produced by plant pathogens.
The microbiome of rice
Read on: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210111112220.htm