Australia: study shows how strawberries fight Fusarium wilt

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Australia: study shows how strawberries fight Fusarium wilt

University of Western Australia (UWA) researchers have identified mechanisms strawberry plants use to fight a soil-borne fungal infection that threatens crops worldwide.  strawberry_62221615 _ panorama

Fusarium wilt seriously damages or kills up to two million plants in the state of Western Australia alone each year.

The scientists from the university's School of Plant Biology and Institute of Agriculture compared expressions and functions in the roots of two different varieties - the more resistant cultivar Festival and the highly susceptible strawberry Camarosa.

The study, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, documented 79 fungus-responsive proteins across both cultivars. It is hoped this understanding will lead to the development of new strawberry cultivars with improved resistance to the fungus.

A UWA release said this would mean growers could use fewer anti-fungal chemicals with reduced input costs, while human health and environmental outcomes would improve.

"Proteomic approaches are powerful tools to understand the defence responses of plants against pathogens," the study authors wrote.

"Proteins reflect the true biochemical outcome of genetic information and indicate the biochemical pathways that may be involved."

The lead author of the study was PhD student Ms Xiangling Fang, written with co-authors professor Martin Barbetti, assistant professor Ricarda Jost and associate professor Patrick Finnegan.

These studies were jointly funded by the Australian Research Council, the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, the Strawberry Growers Association of Western Australia, China Scholarship Council and UWA.


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