Cassava is one of the most important crops in the tropics, feeding half a billion people in more than 80 countries. Cassava bacterial blight (CBB) is a devastating disease that causes crop losses worldwide. Research demonstrated that a new technology, epigenome editing, can reduce CBB symptoms in cassava plants while maintaining normal growth and development.
One of the impacts of climate change is the proliferation of viruses on cultivated plants. To reduce the use of pesticides and promote the deployment of agroecological practices, one strategy is to increase the natural resistance of plants to viruses. Promising results, using genome editing to mimic natural selection.
Over 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on maize for nearly 30% of their caloric intake, and the popularity of maize is expected to continue its upward trend. As the demand for maize increases, so does the need for sustainable and safe production, yet numerous biotic and abiotic stressors threaten this staple crop.
Scientists have traced back plant defence mechanisms to a single receptor that evolved over millions of years to recognise today’s diseases and pests.
When we think of plants, the phrase “stressed out” doesn’t typically come to mind. They are, after all, exempt from paying bills and tackling existential questions. However, environmental changes—both living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic)—generate significant stressors for plants. New methods to improve plant tolerance and immunity amid climate change are therefore critical.
For years, scientists and online databases presumed the presence of clubroot—one of the main diseases on cruciferous crops (such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale)—in Mexico. However, no evidence to support this supposition existed until a team of researchers donned their detective caps to pinpoint the clubroot pathogen.
The fungus Ustilago maydis attacks corn and can cause significant damage to its host. To do this, it first ensures that the plant offers little resistance to the infection. The surgical precision it applies is shown by a new study.
Plants face constant attack by diseases, insect swarms, and fungi, resulting in crop losses that threaten global food security. Discovering new ways to help the plant defend itself against attack is an enormous challenge for scientists.
In contrast to previous assumptions, the defense hormones salicylic acid and jasmonic acid do not always suppress each other in regulating plant chemical defenses against pests and pathogens. In trees, the interplay of both hormones can actually increase plant resistance. This is the conclusion researchers draw in a new study on poplars.