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Checkbiotech: Plant pathologists explore using fungi to control plant diseases
Posted by: DR. RAUPP ; madora (IP Logged)
Date: June 10, 2005 08:38AM ; ;

The use of endophytes, non-harmful fungi, bacteria, or viruses that
naturally grow inside plants, is an emerging tool for managing plant
diseases, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society
(APS), June 2005.

"Endophytes appear to have co-evolved with their plant hosts where the
association can be mutually beneficial to both," said Paul Backman,
professor of plant pathology, biological control and biosecurity,
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. "Recent research
indicates that some of these benefits may be to suppress plant diseases and
other stresses," he said.

Plant pathologists have found that introducing non-harmful endophytes to a
plant can cause it to become more resistant to plant diseases that may harm
or kill the plant. When an endophyte is introduced into a plant, the plant
reacts as if a disease is infecting it and stimulates its natural defense
system. As a result, the plant protects itself against pathogens that may
cause it actual harm. "This method could create long-term protection against
really devastating plant diseases," Backman said.

More on this emerging research area will be addressed during the Endophytes:
An Emerging Tool for Biological Control symposium at the APS Annual Meeting
in Austin, TX, July 30 - August 3, 2005. The symposium will be held Monday,
August 1 from 1-5 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center.

Members of the media are extended complimentary registration to the annual
meeting. To register, contact Amy Steigman at or
+1.651.994.3802. A news conference on emerging plant diseases will be held
at the annual meeting on Monday, August 1. Media are invited to attend or
call in.


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