Crop Biotech Update

New Eco-friendly Protein Antibiotics Fight Off Crop Diseases

December 18, 2019
An interdisciplinary team at the University of Glasgow have revealed a new method that could protect many important crop species against the common crop bacteria Pseudomonas syringae (Ps).

Scientists from the University of Glasgow have discovered a safe and novel method that can safeguard important crops from the widespread bacterial disease Pseudomonas syringae (Ps). The results of their study are published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

The researchers genetically modified (GM) plants to produce a protein antibiotic or bacteriocin throughout their lifetime. The bacteriocin is expressed by a harmless soil-living bacteria related to the Ps strain. The GM plants were then able to successfully defend themselves from bacterial infection without environmentally damaging effects.

Ps infects a wide range of crop species worldwide including tomato, kiwifruit, pepper, olive, soybeans, and fruit trees. Plant diseases result to massive economic losses, specifically around 15% of global crops annually (estimated worth of $150 billion), a third of which is due to bacterial diseases like Ps.

For more details, read the news release at the University of Glasgow website.

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