Scientists discover an elusive plant pathogen in Mexico

Left panel: Legnara with colleagues and farmers from Tlaxcala, Mexico collecting soil samples. Right panel: Perez Lopez in Canola Field in Quebec, Canada. credit: the authors

For years, scientists and online databases assumed the presence of cloprote — a major disease on cruciferous crops (such as broccoli, cabbage, and turnip) — in Mexico. However, there was no evidence to support this assumption until a team of researchers led by Mauricio Luna and Lignara Padron Rodriguez of the University of Veracruz, donated detective hats to identify the pathogen.

Since Mexico is the world’s fifth largest producer of broccoli and a major supplier to the eastern United States and Canada, determining the presence of the pathogen is important to prepare for a potential outbreak. Legnara Padrón developed a detection methodology during COVID-19, leading the authors to think about what would happen if a future pandemic affected plants. The methodology involved working alongside and bringing together cruciferous growers in Mexico soil samples From three classes of fields: fields in production, fields without cruciferous crops for up to a year, and fields that have ceased to grow cruciferous crops. They were able to extract the clobrot pathogen after growing a group of cruciferous crop plants in the collected soil. Typical cloprot symptoms appeared in the roots of the affected plants and the results were confirmed using molecular methods.

Researchers can now verify whether the pathogen, as suspected, has hampered the growth of cruciferous crops in some Mexican fields. New fields infected with the disease have been added to ClubrootTracker, an online tool developed by Dr. Perez Lopez’s group to track pathogens. In addition, their results will greatly improve future management of clubroot, protecting the economy of cruciferous crops in Mexico and the global supply of this important vegetable.

Corresponding author Idel Pérez-López comments that “their findings open the door to more exciting research, such as studying the genome of isolated P. brassicae mexicanus, Geographical distribution, and its evolution compared to other North American isolates. The strategy we followed can help reveal pathogens in other roots Geographical areasor other soil-borne pathogens.”

This study exemplifies the importance of listening to farmers. Their knowledge, combined with science, can reveal answers that improve plant disease management and increase agricultural revenue.

The search was published in plant disease.

A new interactive tool that will help farmers contain the spread of Cloprote

more information:
Legnara Padrón-Rodríguez et al, Plasmodiophora brassicae in Mexico: from fable to truth, plant disease (2022). DOI: 10.1094 / PDIS-11-21-2607-RE


Submitted by the American Society of Plant Pathology

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