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Pathogens cannot disguise beneath the covers

Analysis revealed in Phytobiomes reveals that cowl crops might assist enhance the well being of crops.

Not all crops are grown for money. After the harvest, many farmers develop cowl crops to guard the soil or enhance vitamins of their fields. New analysis by Rémi Maglione and colleagues reveals that along with these advantages, cowl crops might additionally assist struggle pathogens.

Whereas there are a lot of identified advantages to cowl cropping, there might also be hazards. Cowl crops are identified to change the microbial communities within the soil. However is identical true above floor? Might cowl crops move on pathogens to the principle crop? Maglione and colleagues examined how Secale cereale, ryegrass, affected microbes within the phyllosphere, the a part of crops above the bottom. 

They examined how rye affected the prevalence of Pseudomonas syringae, a standard bacterial pathogen that impacts many necessary agricultural crops. If rye might foster useful micro organism, it might scale back the harm performed by P. syringae.

A rainbow of pumpkins and squashes, if your idea of a rainbow starts at orange and ends at green.
Pumpkins and squashes. Picture: Canva.

The workforce grew P. syringae-inoculated squash in fields that have been over-wintered beneath 4 totally different situations: winter rye cowl crop, chemically-terminated winter rye cowl crop, plastic cowl, and naked soil. They in contrast the pathogen masses on the squash crops by culturing P. syringae from their leaves. The workforce additionally characterised the microbiomes of over 2,200 leaf samples to look at how cowl cropping impacts the microbial group aboveground. They discovered that cowl cropping diminished populations of P. syringae and elevated the abundance of genera reminiscent of Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium, which have been used as biocontrol brokers in opposition to pathogens.

It isn’t identified for certain how rye prevents an infection by P. syringae, however the authors have some concepts. One chance is that rye is an terrible host. Of their paper, Maglione and colleagues state: “The best impact of canopy cropping on each the phyllosphere group and P. syringae abundance was noticed early within the rising season. P. syringae begins life on leaves as an epiphyte however then should colonize host tissue by stomata or wounds… Illness severity could possibly be lowered if the early institution and survival of P. syringae is compromised.”

Different solutions embrace cowl crops stopping dangerous microbes from establishing themselves by altering soil moisture or temperature.

“To our information, our examine is the primary to discover the significance of the phyllosphere microbiome within the context of canopy cropping practices. Our outcomes counsel that cowl cropping remedies can be utilized to govern organic interactions to guard crops in opposition to pathogens,” mentioned co-author Martin Laforest in a press launch.


Maglione, Rémi, Marie Ciotola, Mélanie Cadieux, Vicky Toussaint, Martin Laforest, and Steven Kembel. 2021. “Winter Rye Cowl Cropping Modifications Squash (Cucurbita Pepo) Phyllosphere Microbiota and Reduces Pseudomonas Syringae Signs.” Phytobiomes Journal.



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