Category

Fruits and Vegetables

Tweaking carotenoid genes helps tomatoes bring their a-game

By | Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables, News, Plant Science

The popularity of tomatoes has led to the development of more than 10,000 cultivars of various sizes, shapes, and hues. Interestingly though, there is little genetic diversity among modern tomato varieties. This lack of diversity, coupled with the fact that many traits are controlled by multiple genes, makes improving plant yield and quality a major challenge for tomato breeders. A research team shows that modern gene editing techniques can help tomato breeders introduce diversity and improve the nutrition and environmental impact of tomato crops.

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​​​​Short-term moisture removal can eliminate downy mildew of spinach

By | Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables, News, Plant Health

Downy mildew is the biggest threat to spinach production around the world. While the pathogen has a short life cycle (approximately a week), it can produce millions of spores during the spinach growing season. Overhead sprinkler irrigation systems and dew formation on cool nights leads to more moisture, which enables these spores to infect the spinach.

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Identified a new synthetic antimicrobial peptide aptamer targeting the causal agent of grapevine downy mildew

By | Agriculture, Blog, ECRi, Fruits and Vegetables, Plant Health

Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is a crop of great economic and agricultural value throughout the world. In 2019, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) reported that over 7 million hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of this crop, resulting in the global production of about 78 million tonnes of grape and 292 million of hectolitres of wine. However, a production of this magnitude is possible thanks to the massive use of pesticides to counteract various diseases that can affect grape yield. Indeed, pesticide applications are at the basis of intensive agriculture, as they guarantee protection from pathogens, pests and weeds. In absence of pesticide applications, farmers could experience up to 40% of production losses in a single year.

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How Plants Shut the Door on Infection

By | Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables, News, Plant Health

Plants have a unique ability to safeguard themselves against pathogens by closing their pores—but until now, no one knew quite how they did it. Scientists have known that a flood of calcium into the cells surrounding the pores triggers them to close, but how the calcium entered the cells was unclear.

A new study by an international team reveals that a protein called OSCA1.3 forms a channel that leaks calcium into the cells surrounding a plant’s pores, and they determined that a known immune system protein triggers the process.

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​​High-Throughput Sequencing tracks historical spread of grapevine viruses

By | Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables, News, Plant Health, Plant Science

Grapevine is infected by more than 90 viruses, with new viral species discovered yearly as a result of the newer technology introduced by High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS). Within the last decade, HTS is used for virome identification (the assemblage of viral genomes), which in turn helps plant pathologists with future research.

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New research reveals antifungal symbiotic peptide in legume

By | Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables, News, Plant Health, Plant Science

Findings pave the way for developing environmentally friendly fungicides. Fungal diseases cause substantial losses of agricultural harvests each year. The fungus Botrytis cinerea causing gray mold disease is a major problem for farmers growing strawberries, grapes, raspberries, tomatoes and lettuce. To mitigate the problem, they often resort to applying chemical fungicides which can lose their effectiveness over time.

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