Soilborne pathogens are a major issue worldwide as they can infect a broad range of agricultural plants, resulting in serious crop losses devastating to farmers. These persistent pathogens are often resistant toward chemical fungicides, making them difficult to control, and have a broad host range, enabling them to damage a variety of important crops.
Some of these pathogens have the ability to form survival bodies called sclerotia that can survive for many years in the soil before they cause infection and disease in new plant generations. Other microorganisms often form stable associations with these sclerotia, resulting in a complex system teeming with fungal pathogens and non-pathogenic bacteria.
A team of scientists based in Austria and Germany analyzed the microorganisms within the sclerotia of soilborne fungal pathogens from genera Rhizoctonia and Sclerotinia in attempt to discover effective control methods. In these microorganisms, the team found specific bacterial communities different from both the surrounding soil and the host plants affected by the pathogens.
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