Strawberry fields forever and fungus-free

May 22, 2013
Strawberry fields forever and fungus-free

(Phys.org) —Strawberries are one of the most economically important berry crops in the world, and a high value export crop for the Australian horticultural industry.For the first time, researchers at The University of Western Australia have identified mechanisms that strawberry plants use to combat a serious strawberry fungus.

The research identifies the in which strawberry varieties respond to a devastating soil-borne known as Fusarium wilt which poses a serious threat worldwide to commercial production.

The Fusarium wilt fungus penetrates through the roots and causes severe damage, yield losses and death to strawberry plants. Up to two million strawberry plants annually die or are seriously damaged from this disease in Western Australia alone.

The researchers' work, published recently in the Journal of Proteome Research, will pave the way for developing new strawberry cultivars with improved resistance to the fungus. This will mean growers should be able to use fewer anti-fungal chemicals, with reduced input cost and improved outcome on human health and the environment.

The researchers' findings provide the first understanding of resistance at a molecular level so that more effective and sustainable disease management strategies can be adopted locally and nationally.

The researchers, from UWA's School of and Institute of Agriculture, determined the expressions and functions of different proteins (a study known as proteomics) in the roots of a resistant strawberry cultivar (Festival) and compared this to the expressions in a cultivar that is highly susceptible (Camarosa).

The researchers identified 79 fungus-responsive proteins across both cultivars.

"Proteomic approaches are powerful tools to understand the defence responses of plants against pathogens," the study authors write. "Proteins reflect the true biochemical outcome of genetic information and indicate the biochemical pathways that may be involved."

The lead author of the study was PhD student Ms Xiangling Fang. The co-authors were UWA's Winthrop Professor Martin Barbetti, Assistant Professor Ricarda Jost and Associate Professor Patrick Finnegan.

Explore further: Bacterial tenants in fungal quarters

Related Stories

Getting to the root of horseradish root problems

Apr 15, 2013

Approximately 55 percent of the horseradish produced in the United States is grown in the Collinsville, Ill., area, the self-proclaimed "Horseradish Capital of the World." The product is of such high quality that Europeans ...

The molecular basis of strawberry aroma

May 13, 2013

You know that summer is here when juicy red strawberries start to appear on the shelves. In Germany, this seasonal fruit has never been more popular: on average 3.5 kilos per head were consumed in 2012—a ...

Recommended for you

Bacterial tenants in fungal quarters

23 hours ago

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have sequenced the genome of a bacterial symbiont hosted by a mycorrhizal fungus. Analysis of the symbiont's genetic endowment reveals previously unknown ...

First step towards global attack on potato blight

May 28, 2015

European researchers and companies concerned with the potato disease phytophthora will work more closely with parties in other parts of the world. The first move was made during the biennial meeting of the ...

Bacteria study could have agricultural impact

May 28, 2015

Wichita State University microbiology professor Mark Schneegurt and ornithology professor Chris Rogers have discovered that one of North America's most common migratory birds – the Dark-eyed Junco – carries ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.