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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: USING GENETIC DIVERSITY OF IMPROVE QUANTITATIVE DISEASE RESISTANCE AND AGRONOMIC TRAITS OF CORN

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Application of an antibiotic resets the maize leaf phyllosphere community and increases resistance to southern leaf blight

Authors
item Balint-Kurti, Peter
item Stapleton, Ann -

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2011
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Citation: Balint Kurti, P.J., Stapleton, A. 2011. Application of an antibiotic resets the maize leaf phyllosphere community and increases resistance to southern leaf blight. Acta Horticulturae. 905:57-62.

Interpretive Summary: We are examining whether the bacteria present on a leaf surface may affect the resistance or susceptibility of a corn plant to the fungal leaf disease southern leaf blight. Here we show that antibiotic treatment, which kills many of the bacteria on the leaf surface, appears to slow the progress of southern leaf blight.

Technical Abstract: Southern leaf blight (SLB) caused by the foliar fungus Chochliobous heterostrophus is one of the most important pathogens affecting maize (Zea mays L) in warm humid regions. Direct genetic resistance has been studied extensively; more recently attempts have been made to control disease by changing microbial community composition on leaves. The effect of streptomycin sulfate antibiotic treatment on SLB disease progression was measured in the resistant Mo17 inbred and the susceptible B73 inbred under field conditions. Antibiotic treatment slowed disease progression in B73 and had no significant effect on Mo17. Additional analyses of previous experiments indicated that plants treated with streptomycin hosted a different and more competitive bacterial community. These results suggest that the bacterial community on B73 confers susceptibility to fungal disease, and that perturbing that community can reset community structure to confer greater pathogen resistance.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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