Chemical ‘vaccine’ helps plants repel pathogens

When plants come under attack from invading bacteria, viruses or fungi, they mount a two-pronged response, producing both offensive chemicals to kill invaders and defensive chemicals to prevent infestations from spreading. Now, scientists at Stanford have used a type of chemical vaccine to switch on this plant defense system to …

Scientists discover new antibiotic in tropical forest

Scientists from Rutgers University and around the world have discovered an antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium from a Mexican tropical forest that may help lead to a “plant probiotic,” more robust plants and other antibiotics. Probiotics, which provide friendlier bacteria and health benefits for humans, can also be beneficial …

A symbiotic boost for greenhouse tomato plants

Use of saline water to irrigate crops would bolster food security for many arid countries; however, this has not been possible due to the detrimental effects of salt on plants. Scientists have shown that saline irrigation of tomato is possible with the help of a beneficial desert root fungus. This …

Scientists use CRISPR to develop apples Resistant to fire blight

Erwinia amylovora, the bacterium that causes the fire blight disease in apple, triggers its infection through the DspA/E effector which interacts with the apple susceptibility protein MdDIPM4. Researchers used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to produce defective MdDIPM4 which were delivered to susceptible apples (cultivars, ‘Gala’ and ‘Golden Delicious’) using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. …

Scientists Discover Way to Make Crops Grow in Salty Soils

Scientists from Brigham Young University (USA) have successfully inoculated alfalfa with salt tolerant bacteria, a breakthrough in the fight to reverse falling crop yields caused by increasingly salty farmlands around the world. The research team used bacteria found in the roots of salt tolerant plants to successfully inoculate alfalfa plants against overly salty soil. …

Worm pheromones protect major crops

Protecting crops from pests and pathogens without using toxic pesticides has been a longtime goal of farmers. Researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute have found that compounds from an unlikely source—microscopic soil roundworms—could achieve this aim. As described in research published in the Journal of Phytopathology, these compounds helped protect major …

First pea genome to help improve crops of the future

A global team including scientists from The University of Western Australia has assembled the first genome of the field pea, which provides insight into how the legume evolved and will help aid future improvements of the crop. The study, published in Nature Genetics, has important implications for global nutrition and …

GM Tobacco Plants to Produce Industrial Proteins

The market for biologically-derived proteins is said to reach US$300 billion in the future. Currently, industrial enzymes and other proteins are made in large, expensive fermenting reactors, but using plants to produce them could reduce production costs by three times. Researchers at Cornell University and the University of Illinois have …