Soil-borne fungal pathogens from the genus Fusaria limit the cultivation of more than a hundred plant species including bananas cotton tomato potato and sugar beet. The pathogens causing Fusarium wilt invade and colonize plant roots which leads to rotting. Present methods for the control of soil-born fungi include: breeding for resistance (if feasible) soil fumigation with volatile chemicals and solarization. There is currently no effective method to control Fusarium wilt and the fungus is highly resistant to fungicides. Researchers at UCLA have found that the product accumulation of an enzymatic reaction confers strong resistance to soil-born fungal pathogens such as Fusarium oxysporum. Technology Applications : Transform a plant with a gene expressing the identified enzymatic activity will confer resistance to soil-born fungal pathogens State Of Development: An Arabidopsis thaliana mutant plant with abnormal product accumulation of the identified activity expresses broad resistance to Fusarium wilt disease; and mutant plants are highly resistant to three distinct pathogenic lineages of F. oxysporum. Resistance is associated with product accumulation. Conditions that suppress product accumulation also suppress resistance. A plant genotype that further enhances product accumulation also enhances resistance. Resistance is not dependent on salicylic acid accumulation. In many instance strong pathogen resistance is associated with constitutive or elevated salicylic acid accumulation. In our case plants with abnormal product accumulation of the identified activity completely retain resistance to Fusarium wilt in the absence of salicylic acid accumulation.
1) Plant will inherently be resistant to soil-born fungal pathogens such as Fusarium oxysporum. 2) No need to treat soil with fungicides that are often toxic to animals and humans. 3) Disease resistant plant.