Biotech Updates

Researchers Probe Soil Dwelling Bacteria that is Believed to Protect Crops

January 30, 2013

Scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are examining the bacteria's potential to biologically control root-rot fungi that cause crop yield losses of 10 to 30 percent annually in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. The bacteria are members of the genus Pseudomonas and include 11 strains that stops the growth of Pythium and Rhizoctonia fungi, which cause diseases in wheat and barley crops.

In greenhouse tests conducted by the researchers, the use of five of the Pseudomonas strains diminished the severity of R. solani AG-98 root rot by 30 to 92 percent and P. ultimum by 32 to 56 percent. Two strains also reduced rot caused by R. oryzae and P. irregulare, which plague Pacific Northwest wheat and barley crops.

View USDA's news release at