Singapore scientists uncover secret of the black rot in vegetable crops

Published Sep 8, 2021

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By Shabana Begum Every year between 2004 and 2013, swathes of cabbage grown in fields and greenhouses across New York were attacked by a lethal bacteria that severely wilted the leaves, sometimes making the vegetables appear scorched. During winter in Turkey between 2004 and 2006, patches of cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprout were found rotten and withered. For over a century, little was known about this untreatable plant epidemic called black rot, which threatens food security worldwide.

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Black rot disease on a cabbage.PHOTO: SUSAN B. SCHEUFELE But a group of scientists in Singapore have, for the first time, identified how this "crop killer" bacteria hijacks plants at the molecular level and cripple their immune system. Their findings will pave the way for plant biologists to better treat infected plants and find ways to rear bacteria-resistant crops without using genetic engineering, said the study's lead, Associate Professor Miao Yansong from Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) School of Biological Sciences. "For some of the devastating disease in agriculture, the whole field has to be burnt," he said. "And during the pre-harvesting stage, if the bacteria is hidden inside batches of squash, and if you open them up to see black rot, those vegetables lead to big losses for the farmer." Prof Miao and his team found that the black rot-causing bacteria, called Xanthomonas, injects toxic proteins into plant cells. The surface of plant cells contains substances ...
Source: Agropages
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