Biotech Updates

Iowa State U Researchers Receive Grant to Enhance Soybean Resistance Against Sudden Death Syndrome

February 13, 2013

Researchers at Iowa State University (ISU) received a five-year, US$5 million grant from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to enhance the genetic resistance of soybean to sudden death syndrome, a serious disease that has cost farmers millions of crop losses in the past. ISU agronomist Madan Bhattacharyya, who has studied sudden death syndrome since 2003 will lead the research team.

Sudden death syndrome first appeared in Arkansas in 1971, caused by a Fusarium fungus infecting soybean roots. Bhattacharyya said, "The disease is devastating because it begins in the root of the plant and stays in the infected roots. When the disease symptoms become visible in the leaves, it's too late and there is no effective fungicide to control the disease." His group has recently identified a small protein produced by the pathogen in the roots causing foliar soybean sudden death syndrome.

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