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Crop Biotech Update

Studies Show How Microbiome Affects Breeding of Apples and Oil Pumpkins

April 21, 2021

Two independent studies conducted by researchers from Graz University (TU Graz) found that the composition of microbiome of apples and oil pumpkins depends on its geographical location which can affect its fruit quality, adaptability, storability, and food safety to human health.

The researchers used high-throughput amplicon sequencing to target the 16SrRNA and the TS1 genes to assess the bacterial and fungal microbiomes in oil pumpkins. They found that the plant passes on much of its microorganisms on the seed from up to 60 percent to the next generation similar to how humans get their microbiomes from their mothers. Fungal microbiome diversity, on the other hand, depends mostly on the fungi present on the soil. The results of the study could lead to a microbiome-controlled breeding of oil pumpkins resulting in high yield and longer storage life. 

TU Graz researchers collected apple fruit "Royal Gala" from similar climates, within the continent, and exhibited the highest degree of similarities in its composition. They found out that fungal diversity is more noticeable than the bacterial community in terms of composition and abundance. They identified six fungal genera (Aureobasidium, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Filobasidium, Vishniacozyma, and Sporobolomyces) and two bacterial genera (Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium) in the core microbiome of the apple. Studying the core microbiome could help the researchers learn more about the susceptibility of apple fruits to pre- and postharvest diseases, fruit safety, and shelf life.

To learn more about these studies, read the journal articles in Frontiers in Plant Science and Environmental Microbiology

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