Blackleg biocontrol identified
A potential biological control for the potato bacterial disease, blackleg and wet rot ( Dickeya spp) has been identified by researchers from Dutch biotechnology company Plant Research International (PRI - Wageningen) and the Netherlands institute of ecology, the NIOO (Wageningen). The pathogen infects both above- and below-ground plant tissues, and spreads rapidly via the host vascular system. In greenhouse trials, it was found that blackleg development in potatoes was blocked completely and colonisation of stems by Dickeya spp reduced by 97% by the rhizobacterium, Serratia plymuthica strain A30. PRI notes that it has patented the antagonist and is studying methods to market it as a biocontrol agent.