Researchers from the International Rice Research Institute and Oklahoma State University reported a gene (B5) that could provide cotton plants with broad-spectrum resistance to bacterial blight. Their findings are published in Phytopathology.
Bacterial blight is a destructive disease that impacts cotton plants. A few effective ways to combat bacterial blight has been available, and most farmers rely on pesticides. This led the farmers to put a spotlight on B5 gene, which was first identified in the 1950s but since then received little attention.
The researchers have found that B5 confers strong resistance to a wide range of strains of the bacteria that causes the disease. They also found that B5 works by triggering the production of sesquiterpenoid phytoalexins. Phytoalexins are chemicals that plants produce in response to infection. They help to kill the bacteria and protect the plant from disease.
The scientists believe that B5 could be used to develop new varieties of cotton that are resistant to bacterial blight. This would help to reduce the reliance on pesticides and protect cotton crops from this devastating disease.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. www.isaaa.org)