Microbes protect crops from microbes

Leiden University

Farmers do not love them all. Microbes can cause tragic consequences for crops. Even the presence of just one pathogenic fungus or bacterium can drastically reduce yields. Still, there are exceptions. In that case, a pathogenic microbe is present in the soil, but does not cause any harm. Adam Ossowicki graduated 1 June after a voyage of discovery to unravel the principles of this mystery.

“One of the most devastating fungal pathogens is Fusarium culmorum, and when it strikes it reduces yields and contaminates the harvest with toxins making it unfit for consumption,” Ossowicki explains. “The interesting part is that some soils possess an exceptional variety of microorganisms that protect crops from such pathogens. Those are called disease suppressive soils. I wanted to know more about them.”

Ossowicki Adam hopes that his research could make a global difference in the future. “My research is a start, it is the fundamental part that filled our knowledge about microorganisms with new insights. I hope that in the future crops can be protected by managing soil microbiomes without using harmful chemicals. Nowadays, one of the greatest challenges is not only to feed the world population but also to do it in a sustainable way.”

> Source: PHYS.ORG