By Isabell Albert
A team of international researchers headed by scientists from the University of Tübingen has deciphered the workings of a cytolytic toxin, which is produced by some of the world’s most devastating crop diseases.
The Cytolysin is manufactured by pathogens such as bacteria and fungi and can wipe out entire harvests if chemical protection is not used.
The study - by researchers from Tübingen and their partner institutions in Berkeley, Bordeaux, Ljubljana, Liége, and Wako in Japan, as well as Göttingen in Germany - may lead to ways of better protecting crops from such pathogens in the future.
The study has been published in the latest edition of Science.
The Great Famine in Ireland claimed around one million lives and forced more than a million people to emigrate. It began in 1845 with the failure of potato crops in that and the following years due to the potato blight, caused by an oomycete called Phytophthora infestans. It quickly kills the infected plant and spoils the potato tubers.