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Crop Biotech Update

Developing Ozone Tolerance in Tomato Might Interfere with Plant Disease Management

October 30, 2019

Researchers from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina examined two cultivars of tomato to investigate the effects of elevated O3 on the severity of bacterial disease. The results are published in Plant Biology.

Tropospheric ozone (O3) is a major air pollutant that affect plant growth and productivity. In the next 50 years, concentrations of O3 are projected to increase, which will have an impact on plant responses to diseases. Thus, next management strategies must be devised to ensure food production. In the study, the two cultivars with different tolerance levels to ozone were exposed to Xanthomonas vesicatoria (Xv9) pathogen.

Results showed that ozone increased the severity of the bacterial disease by up to 40 percent in both tomato cultivars. In the more tolerant cultivar, exposure to ozone increased disease intensity, even after applying  a product to enhance resistance. In the more susceptible cultivar, level of disease attained depended on the oxidative balance that resulted from other stress factors.

The researchers concluded that the antioxidant capacity of the plant during infection is vital in controlling the progression of the disease. Development of O3 tolerance in commercial crops might impose a penalty cost in terms of disease management under projected higher O3 concentrations.

Read the Early View of the article in Plant Biology.

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