Scientists from the Earlham Institute created a new automated system using liquid handling robots to identify the genetic basis of growth inhibition of plant pathogens to prevent the rapid spread of crop diseases.

The scientists screened 2,880 species of Pseudomonas isolated from a potato field in just 11 hours to identify and compare the pathogen growth inhibition with a biosynthetic gene cluster. They were able to identify the genes responsible for pathogen growth inhibition in just two weeks.

The new automated genomics screening allows the scientists to increase the number of identified plant pathogen gene clusters causing the restriction of pathogen growth. The new method could also reduce human error and increase accuracy and efficiency. It could also be used to analyze similar bacterial genomes to prevent the spread of other crop diseases.

(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.