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Crop protection: Biohacking against fungal attacks
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: July 25, 2022 11:50AM

European scientists found a way to manipulate signals precisely and
effectively between the host plant and pathogens to prevent fungal
attacks without environmentally hazardous toxins and with less
ecological footprint.

Scientists from Germany, France, and Switzerland used around 20,000
fungus strains and 6,000 plant species to develop a method to trick the
pathogens' chemical communication with plants and prevent fungal
infections. Using the microfluidics chip that they developed, plant and
fungi cells' chemical interactions were observed by the scientists. The
cells were placed on chips that were a few square centimeters in size.
Chemical interaction occurred through the microfluidic current without
the cells having to touch each other. The interactions were observed by
placing a geneswitch and a fluorescent gene in the plant cells. When the
chemical signals of the plant immune system were activated, this
produced a green glow that allowed the scientists to measure how much
interaction happened.

These observations allowed the scientists to decode the chemical
communication between the fungus and the plant that accompanies the
fungal attack, as well as identify the signal substances that the fungus
used to suppress the plant's immune response. Further investigation
helped them identify the molecules that can be used to reactivate the
plant's immune response. The scientists likened their findings to a
vaccination intended for plants. If this new technology proves to be
successful under field conditions, new approaches can be developed to
use signal substances to replace chemical herbicides in fields in the

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