Project Number: 3091-22000-040-006-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 1, 2023
End Date: Jul 31, 2026
Cotton pathogenic fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum race 4 (Fov4) is known to support a diverse group of bacteria that potentially assist the fungus in its pathogenicity. These bacterial interactions with pathogenic fungi lead to the formation of pathobiomes, but functional advantage imparted by these bacteria is unknown. The overall objective of this project is to elucidate fungal-bacterial interkingdom interactions and its role in plant pathogenesis.
The soil microbiome community associated with various strains of Fov4 will be identified using metagenomic and metabarcoding techniques to identify key mycosphere bacteria associated with Fov4. This work will be complimented by isolating and culturing the Fov4 mycosphere bacteria and attributing potential functions through genome sequencing. We also will test the functional advantages that the mycosphere bacteria attribute to Fov4 pathogenicity in controlled environmental growth chambers by introducing various stains of Fov4, with and without the mycosphere bacteria, to lines of Pima cotton with different levels of Fov4 susceptibility. Disease progression will be monitored and assessed by non-invasive techniques based on spectral reflectance patterns of cotton plants.