Jul 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:17 AM EDT

Rice Plants Can Be Saved From Rice Blast And Arsenic Through New Found Microbes

Feb 21, 2017 05:21 AM EST

A rice crop is seen on the property of farmer Hunter Lansdale on February 22, 2007 in Deniliquin, Australia.
(Photo : Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

A new discovery has found out that a combination of beneficial soil microbes can prevent rice plants from dying. Rice plants are usually attacked by a fungal disease called rice blast and arsenic in water and soil.

Science News has reported that since rice plants cannot move and are stuck in their places, the soil, it cannot fend off arsenic in soil. However, there is a new discovery that will help rice plants fight the said plague.

Scientists have documented an enzyme that helps rice plant roots overcome arsenic. It will be converted to something that will be automatically sent back to where it came from. This new observation will also lessen the toxic element that spreads into the plants' grains. Those toxic elements can even be a health risk to humans, researchers reported February 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jonathon Cottone, a junior from University of Delaware (UD) has made this one of his studies. Harsh Bais an associate professor of plant and soil sciences at UD is helping Cottone to research about how plants can cope with the stress of it, according to Science Daily. The team has indentified the microbes, Pseudomonas chlororaphis EA105 and EA106. The first one activates a system-wide defense for the plants to naturally protect itself. It stops the appressoria that batters the leaf of the rice plant.

Meanwhile, EA106 produces a shield that collects the roots of the rice plants for it to be not contaminated. These two enzymes naturally go to the soil's rhizosphere, which is around the rice plants roots.

"We wanted to see if we could use a combinatorial approach -- a 'cocktail' of organisms -- that would help rice plants with two simultaneous stresses attacking them," Bais said, from his laboratory at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. The plants are very confused with the climate change and every other factor that is happening around them. They do not know what to do, Bais added.

There is an estimated 60 million people that can be fed with the amount of rice plant that are destroyed by rice blasts each year. Multiple microbes will be really helpful for rice plants especially in Southeast Asian countries that are rice dependent.

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