A2: Microbes in the News (Post 2)

Harnessing Soil Microbes to Enhance Crop Performance

Phys.org

March 28, 2019

https://phys.org/news/2019-03-harnessing-soil-microbes-crop.html

This article explains that some organizations (the organization they used as an example was the Agriculture and Food Development Authority (TEAGASC)) have been using bacteria to modify different plants’ genome. This has been done for a while using Agrobacterium tumefaciens, but because of limitations, they were looking into alternative bacteria that could perform the same function. They found a bacterium, Ensifer adherens, which can modify a plant’s genome easier than A. tumefaciens. Plants treat A. tumefaciens as something to guard against, which makes modifying certain plants difficult because some plants have a resistance. On the other hand, many plants recognize E. adherens as a symbiotic bacterium. As such, they do not have the same resistance as they do with the A. tumefaciens. The article then discusses some practical applications that E. adherens has been used for already.

We have been covering in class recently how humans control the growth of bacteria with many different antibacterial methods. I found it interesting that even plants have antibacterial methods that make them resilient to certain strains of bacteria. I believe that this story was scientifically accurate, I just would have liked more information on how E. adherens differed from A. tumefaciens to result in more of a symbiotic relationship. Although, I believe that editing out all of the information would make it so a wider variety of audience would be more likely to read the article. All in all, I found this article interesting and informative.

My question is: Is there any other widely-used bacterium that has been identified that can genetically modify plants?

 

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