Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers have developed a fungal enzyme called laccase that prevents leaf spot disease. Leaf spot disease affects sugar beets by reducing root yields and sugar content. It gets its name from the spots on leaves, which are fungi colonies that feed on leaf tissue. Laccase is very good at detoxifying the toxin produced by the leaf spot fungus, Cercospora beticola (C. beticola). This invention could be used as an all-natural enzymatic solution for preventing leaf spot disease.
ARS’s invention may be of interest to growers of sugar beets and other crops, which can be infected by one or more of the species of Cercospora. There have been attempts to use a bacterium to control C. beticola. C. beticola and many other plant pathogens have developed resistance to pesticides that once held them in check. Some effective chemical controls, such as methyl bromide, are being banned due to health and environmental concerns. This research focuses on alternative (minimal chemical use) pest management strategies that use crop diversity, cultural, water management and other biologically-based technologies to manage diseases and other pests. An alternate control of Cercospora diseases stands to offer significant economic benefits to growers.
Please refer to USPN 6,872,388 (Docket #0137.02), “Degradation of Cercosporin by Laccase,” which issued on March 29, 2005. Foreign rights are not available.
|Robert T. Lartey
Agricultural Systems Research Unit
1500 North Central Avenue
Sidney, Montana 59270-4202
(406) 433-9490 / Fax: (406) email@example.com
(Same as first inventor)
(406) 433-9415 / Fax: (406) 433-5038