Science News
from research organizations

Scientists Create A New Technique To Combat Scourge Of Potato Crops

Date:
May 15, 2007
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Researchers have developed a way of controlling Streptomyces scabies, a pathogen that destroys potato crops, according to an article in the May issue of Microbiology Today.
Share:
FULL STORY

Researchers have developed a way of controlling Streptomyces scabies, a pathogen that destroys potato crops, according to an article in the May issue of Microbiology Today.

By using DNA sequencing to make pathogen-specific probes, researchers are able to detect and count the deadly bacteria in soil and on plant surfaces and advise growers on the best method of disease control.

Currently, there are more than a dozen different kinds of scab-producing Streptomyces that affect potato crops worldwide. These filamentous pathogens can penetrate expanding plant cells, including potato tubers, producing raised or pitted scab-like lesions.

S. scabies is pathogenic due to its ability to produce thaxtomin, a protein that breaks down the walls of growing cells, which is encoded on a short segment of DNA transferred during mating. This gives the bacterium the ability to infect any elongating part of a plant that is underground. It is these thaxtomin biosynthethic genes that have been used to develop the pathogen-specific probes.

The potato crop is propagated vegetatively and when infected seed tubers are shipped around the globe, the harmful bacteria get a free ride to new production areas. It is not uncommon to find more than one scab-producing species in the same place, and by using the new probes, scientists can target all known variants. With further advancements in DNA analysis, even better techniques to identify these pathogens and prevent disease may be developed in the future.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Scientists Create A New Technique To Combat Scourge Of Potato Crops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514162104.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2007, May 15). Scientists Create A New Technique To Combat Scourge Of Potato Crops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514162104.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Scientists Create A New Technique To Combat Scourge Of Potato Crops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514162104.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

RELATED STORIES