[permaculture] Researchers propose ecological route to plant disease control -- ScienceDaily

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Fri Sep 25 13:10:16 EDT 2015


Science News from research organizations
Researchers propose ecological route to plant disease control Date:September
24, 2015Source:University of YorkSummary:New research has revealed a
potential natural defence against invasive pathogens which damage food
crops across the world.

New research involving a scientist at the University of York has revealed a
potential natural defence against invasive pathogens which damage food
crops across the world.

Dr Ville Friman, of the Department of Biology at York, worked with
colleagues in China and the Netherlands in the search for new ways to
suppress the pathogen *Ralstonia solanacearum* which causes bacterial wilt
of tomato and potato. Global damage estimates of bacterial wilt of potato
currently exceed $950 million per year.

Traditionally, farmers have employed integrated management -- potentially
involving the use of chemicals -- to protect crops against pathogen
invasion and increase yields. But some chemicals are banned within the EU
because of their detrimental effects on the environment.

The researchers studied if the soil microbial community that interacts with
the plant could be harnessed to act as an ecological defence against
pathogen invasion. They specifically concentrated on bacterial resource
competition networks and studied pathogen invasion success in simplified
laboratory experiments and tomato plant roots.

These tests showed that the greater niche overlap between the resident
microbial community and the invading pathogen led to intensified resource
competition constraining the spread of bacterial wilt. Moreover, pathogen
invasion success was further reduced when competition between the members
of resident bacterial community was minimized.Dr Friman said: "Soil-borne
plant pathogens are difficult to control because of their variable
populations and their ability to evolve to overcome plant resistance. A
significant proportion of global food production is lost to soil-borne
plant diseases. Thus, improving rhizosphere community invasion resistance
could significantly improve crop yields across different agricultural

The researchers suggest adopting an ecological approach to improve
planthealth by engineering the resource competition interaction networks of
plant-associated bacterial communities. The research is published in *Nature

*Story Source:*

The above post is reprinted from materials
provided by *University of York* <http://www.york.ac.uk>. *Note: Materials
may be edited for content and length.*

*Journal Reference*:

   1. Zhong Wei, Tianjie Yang, Ville-Petri Friman, Yangchun Xu, Qirong
   Shen, Alexandre Jousset. *Trophic network architecture of
   root-associated bacterial communities determines pathogen invasion and
   plant health*. *Nature Communications*, 2015; 6: 8413 DOI:
   10.1038/ncomms9413 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9413>


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