Jan 20, 2019 | Updated: 08:39 AM EST

‘Plant Immunity’ Strengthening To Defeat Parasitic Worms

Apr 16, 2017 05:20 AM EDT


Plant parasites specifically nematodes, withdraw and consumes water and nutrients from their host plants. This feeding pyramid seriously injures the plants as until now there is no any technological advancement to counteract this problem. Thanks to the researchers from University of Bonn and scientists from Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich for identifying a way to increase plant immunity.

According to Science Daily, the group of researchers and scientists has identified a gene in thale cress ("Arabidopsis thaliana") called NILR1 that assists plants that sense nematodes. NILR1 is located on the surface of plant cells, it is a genetic code for a receptor protein thus able to bind to and recognize other molecules. NILR1 has the most probability to recognize or bind to molecules from nematodes as it could help to strengthen plant immunity.

The most advantageous regarding NILR1 is that it could recognize a wide range of nematodes despite the increasing resistance of these parasites. Moreover, NILR1 is also conserved in important crops, which is also essential to people such as; wheat, soybean, and banana. The researchers plan to identify molecules which bind to NILR1 in order to initiate and induce plant immunity.

The findings of the study are essential as it paved a way creating new approaches in increasing plant immunity against increasing resistance from nematodes. Once the nematode molecule is characterized, new natural compounds will be available to induce defense responses in plants leading to a safer and less toxic parasite control on plants.

Meanwhile, according to United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA), plant-parasitic nematodes are recognized as one of the greatest threat to crops throughout the world. Nematode alone or together with other soil parasites invades the plant holistically including; roots, stems, leaves, fruits, and seeds. The discovery of new cases of nematode invasion to plants including their resistance against available control mechanism is important in the regulation of plant immunity.

The recent discovery of NILR1 is, therefore, important in increasing the crop yield per year worldwide. Strengthening plant immunity is a necessity most especially on the growing concern of nematode resistance and climate change that could somehow shift the growing season of some crops.

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