Even if your tomato plants are healthy, they sometimes fall prey to diseases from bacteria.
In a new study published in Current Biology, scientists show how a certain bacteria gets past a tomato’s defenses and infects the plant with bacterial speck disease, leaving black lesions on leaves and fruits.
They hope to use the results to study ways to protect plants without pesticides.
In order to study the way that the bacteria invaded the tomato, European scientists used a plant called Arabidopsis, which is also affected by the bacterial speck disease and works well in experimental studies.
When they studied the infection process, they found thatthe bacteria sent a protein into the plant cells. This protein found surface locations on the cell that would normally announce invaders. The protein worked to deactivate and destroy these surface receptors.
As one author, Professor Mansfield says: “This area of research has a wider significance beyond black speck disease in tomato, because the microbes that cause plant diseases probably all employ similar attacking strategies to suppress resistance in their hosts. The more we understand about how the pathogens that cause disease overcome the innate immunity to infection in crop plants, the better our chances of developing approaches to disease control that do not require the use of potentially harmful pesticides”
This is indeed an exciting study. If they are able to create methods of controlling bacteria that do not include pesticides, it will be better for the environment. Let’s hope they figure it out!