Scientists discover new option to provide bananas with resistance to dreaded Black Sigatoka disease

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Scientists from the Plant Sciences Group of Wageningen UR have found a new method for making banana plants resistant to the much feared Black Sigatoka disease. They recently showed that several proteins of very different types of fungi can be recognized by receptor-like proteins from different plant species that subsequently provide resistance against the harmful fungi. In the journal PNAS, the scientists describe how the same principle applies to pathogenic fungi of tomato and banana plants and the resistance these plants develop against the fungi that attack them. This opens up the possibility that the resistance genes of tomato plants active against tomato diseases could also be used in bananas to protect them against the devastating Black Sigatoka fungus. ................ The research findings are of great importance to the International Pesticide Reduction Programme coordinated by Plant Research International. Kema: “Only one banana variety is cultivated worldwide, and that variety is extremely susceptible to disease. As a result banana plantations use over fifty applications of fungicides per year. Resistant banana plants could therefore lead to considerable environmental savings”

Period19 Apr 2010

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