Bacterial penetration may result in disease-resistant rice

A bacterium that makes rice plants more resistant to disease has been discovered in the seeds of a crop in China.

It is believed that the bacteria obtained from a rice plant in China have good disease-fighting properties.

Scientists from Austria believe they have found the key to breeding that is more disease resistant rice Plants, a breakthrough that could improve the security of one of the world’s most important food sources.

Rice is the staple food for about half of the world’s population. Rice cultivation consumes a lot of water, according to German Relief WealthungerhilfAbout 15 percent of the rice is grown in areas that are at high risk of drought.

Therefore, global warming has become an increasing problem in rice cultivation, which often leads to poor harvests and hunger crises. Crop failure caused by plant pathogens is further exacerbating the situation.

Breeding resistant plants is the only alternative to using pesticides, but this method of controlling crop diseases works moderately. If plants are resistant to one pathogen thanks to their reproduction, they are usually more susceptible to other pathogens or are less vigorous under adverse environmental conditions.

For this reason, an international research group, including the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology at the Graz University of Technology, has been studying the rice plant seed microbiome for some time now in order to establish relationships between plant health and the presence of some microorganisms. The group has now made a major breakthrough.

They have identified a bacterium within the seed that can lead to complete resistance to a specific pathogen and is naturally transmitted from one plant generation to another. According to the research team, the findings The publication in the scientific journal Nature Plants provides an entirely new basis for designing biological plant protection products and reducing harmful biotoxins produced by plant pathogens.


In traditional rice cultivation in the Chinese province of Zhejiang, it has been observed that one genotype of the rice plant (cultivar Zhongzao 39) occasionally develops resistance to plant pathogens Burcolderia Plantary. This pathogen leads to crop failure and also produces a biotoxin that can cause organ damage and tumors in continuously exposed humans and animals.

“Until now, the sporadic resistance of rice plants to this pathogen cannot be explained,” said Tomislav Sernava of the institute. Institute of Environmental Biotechnology At the Graz University of Technology.

Together with Institute President Gabriel Berg and his colleague Peter Cosstacher, Sernava has been investigating in detail the microbiome of rice seeds from different cultivation regions in detail in the course of cooperation with Zhejiang University (Hangzhou) and Nanjing Agricultural University In China, as well as the Japanese Hokkaido University In Sapporo.

Scientists have found that resistant plants have a different bacterial composition inside the seeds than those that are susceptible to disease. In particular, the genus of bacteria Sphingomonas It is found significantly more often in resistant seeds.

So the researchers isolated the bacteria from this genus from the seeds and identified the bacteria Sphingomonas melon As a factor responsible for disease resistance. These bacteria produce an organic acid (anthranilic acid), which inhibits the pathogen and thus renders it harmless.

“This also works for isolates Sphingomonas melon It is applied to non-resistant rice plants. This automatically makes it resistant to plant pathogens Burcolderia PlantaryExplained Tomislav Sernava.

In addition, the bacterium fixes itself in some rice genotypes and then passes naturally from one plant generation to another. “The potential for this discovery is enormous. In the future, we will be able to use this strategy to reduce pesticides in agriculture while at the same time achieving good yields of crops,” added Sernava.

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