Soil bacteria have been found to use several methods to protect plants in their “suppressed soil”

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the Netherlands and two in Brazil has discovered how some soil bacteria protect crops from fungal diseases.In their paper, published in the journal Science, they describe their transcriptional analysis of several soil bacteria.Susannah Tringe, of the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, outlined the team’s work in an outlook published in the same issue of the journal.Previous studies have shown that some plants are protected from fungal infections such as Rhizoctonia Solani by the microbiome in the soil.Soils with this protective effect are called “inhibitive soils”.In the new study, the researchers sought to learn more about the areas of suppressed soil in plant roots (endophytes) and surrounding soil (rhizosphere microbiota).To do this, they collected a variety of soil samples from a farm in the Netherlands known to have suppressed soils.They also collected multiple samples of sugar beets grown on the farm.The team’s work involves isolating and identifying the various microbes that live in soil and roots.They then performed metagenomic studies on them using DNA technology, which maps the full diversity of microcommunities.The team was able to analyze the DNA of thousands of bacterial species simultaneously.Researchers report that many types of bacteria in soil have many genetic traits that protect plants growing in the soil.Many of them produce useful substances, such as chitinase, which breaks down the walls of attacking fungal cells.They also found 700 biosynthetic gene clusters involved in the production of this particular substance — only 12 of which were known before the study.In addition, they found that the bacteria were able to produce secondary metabolites, such as polyketones, phenazines and siderophores, which also have antifungal properties.Source: NIOO

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