Biotech Updates

Cotton Microbes Protect Crops from Devastating Virus

December 20, 2023

Researchers from Forman Christian College in Pakistan found the potential of cotton microbiome in suppressing cotton leaf curl disease (CLCuD). Their findings are published in Nature.

Previous breeding strategies were ineffective in combating the disease, which led the scientists to shift to other means that involve exploring the microbiome to modulate plant defense mechanisms against CLCuD. The cotton microbiome of CLCuD-resistant varieties may harbor a multitude of bacterial genera that significantly contribute to disease resistance and provide information on metabolic pathways that differ between the susceptible and resistant varieties.

The study explored the microbiome of CLCuD-susceptible Gossypium hirsutum and CLCuD-resistant G. arboreum using 16 S rRNA gene amplification for the leaf endophyte, leaf epiphyte, rhizosphere, and root endophyte of the two cotton species. This revealed that Pseudomonas inhabited the rhizosphere while Bacillus was predominantly found in the phyllosphere of CLCuV-resistant G. arboreum. Using salicylic acid-producing Serratia and Fictibacillus isolated from CLCuD-resistant G. arboreum, and guided by our analyses, the researchers have successfully suppressed CLCuD in the susceptible G. hirsutum through pot assays. The applied strains exhibited less than 10% CLCuD incidence as compared to the control group, where it was 40% at 40 days post-viral inoculation. Through detailed analytics, the study has successfully demonstrated that the applied microbes serve as a biocontrol agent to suppress viral disease in cotton.

For more details, read the paper in Nature.

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