Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Rhizosphere protists are key determinants of plant health
    Xiong, Wu ; Song, Yuqi ; Yang, Keming ; Gu, Yian ; Wei, Zhong ; Kowalchuk, George A. ; Xu, Yangchun ; Jousset, Alexandre ; Shen, Qirong ; Geisen, Stefan - \ 2020
    Microbiome 8 (2020)1. - ISSN 2049-2618
    Pathogen of Ralstonia solanacearum - Plant health - Predator-prey interactions - Protists - Rhizosphere - Secondary metabolite genes

    Background: Plant health is intimately influenced by the rhizosphere microbiome, a complex assembly of organisms that changes markedly across plant growth. However, most rhizosphere microbiome research has focused on fractions of this microbiome, particularly bacteria and fungi. It remains unknown how other microbial components, especially key microbiome predators - protists - are linked to plant health. Here, we investigated the holistic rhizosphere microbiome including bacteria, microbial eukaryotes (fungi and protists), as well as functional microbial metabolism genes. We investigated these communities and functional genes throughout the growth of tomato plants that either developed disease symptoms or remained healthy under field conditions. Results: We found that pathogen dynamics across plant growth is best predicted by protists. More specifically, communities of microbial-feeding phagotrophic protists differed between later healthy and diseased plants at plant establishment. The relative abundance of these phagotrophs negatively correlated with pathogen abundance across plant growth, suggesting that predator-prey interactions influence pathogen performance. Furthermore, phagotrophic protists likely shifted bacterial functioning by enhancing pathogen-suppressing secondary metabolite genes involved in mitigating pathogen success. Conclusions: We illustrate the importance of protists as top-down controllers of microbiome functioning linked to plant health. We propose that a holistic microbiome perspective, including bacteria and protists, provides the optimal next step in predicting plant performance. [MediaObject not available: see fulltext.]

    Assessment of Dickeya and Pectobacterium spp. on vegetables and ornamentals (Soft rot)
    Wolf, J.M. van der; Bergsma-Vlami, M. ; Saddler, G. ; Hélias, V. ; Tsror, L. ; Yedida, Iris ; Pirhonen, M. ; Degefu, Yeshtila ; Tuomisto, J.T. ; Lojkowska, Ewa ; Li, Sean - \ 2020
    Zenodo - 109 p.
    Euphresco - Plant health - Dickeya - Pectobacterium - soft rot - vegetables - ornamentals - diagnostics - surveys - epidemiology - management
    Dickeya and Pectobacterium belonging to the group of soft rot Pectobacteriaceae (SRP) are causing emerging problems in a wide range of vegetable and ornamental crops in Europe, including potato, carrot, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery, leek, pepper, parsley, Zantedeschia, hyacinth, Dahlia, Chrysanthemum, Philodendron, Freesia, Saintpaulia, Iris, Aglaonema, Crocus, Campanula and Phalaenopsis. The phytopathogens in both genera are genetically and phenotypically highly diverse. Disease problems in the different hosts are associated with the introduction of new variants or by spread of groups already present in Europe. Within this Euphresco project we aimed to identify and assess the risks of these new variants, and to develop management strategies, including reliable diagnostic methods to prevent introductions and further spread of SRP. To reach our goals, meetings were organized and collaborations were established with specialists worldwide. All information on meetings, protocols and activities of the Euphresco group are published on the Dickeya/Pectobacterium website, conveyed by the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie (Scotland) (https://engage.hutton.ac.uk, contact person Dr I. Toth/Dr J. Fairly).

    During the project, 1.5 days meetings were held in 2015 in Gdansk (Poland), in 2016 in Helsinki (Finland), in 2017 in Edinburgh (Scotland) and in 2018 in Emmeloord (The Netherlands). Meetings were attended by an average of 30 participants from organizations in EU member states, North- and Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

    One project’s objective was to develop methods for the detection and identification of Pectobacterium and Dickeya species in different matrices. For this, a panel of reference strains has been compiled for Dickeya and Pectobacterium species. Most strains have been deposited in international collections. For most strains also whole genome sequence data are available. During the course of this project, several diagnostic tests were developed and evaluated, often based on the TaqMan technology.

    In several countries, surveys in potato and ornamental crops were conducted, but also in other matrices of the potato ecosystem, including water used for irrigation. In addition, new taxonomic groups that have been identified, are now new species including: P. versatile, P. aquaticum, P. fontis and P. polonicum. In potato, P. brasiliense became dominant as blackleg causing organism and has largely outcompeted D. solani in the last five years. In surface water in Europe, D. zeae was found to be the dominant SRP. In other continents, serious outbreaks of potato blackleg with other SRP has been reported, such as D. dianthicola in the USA and Australia. Various new SRP have been described, namely P. punjabense, P. peruviense, P. polaris, D. lacustris and D. zantedeschia. For the first time, D. fangzhongdai was described in Phalaenopsis. Not all species can cause potato blackleg.

    Studies on various virulence factors were conducted for SRP, such as on chemoreceptors, small phenolic plant compounds interacting with signal molecules of Pectobacterium involved in the quorum sensing mechanism of the pathogen. A Tn-seq approach was developed and used to identify new virulence factors.

    Information was exchanged on disease management strategies which include cultivation practices, resistance breeding, hygiene and the use of (bio-) control agents. A strict hygiene and an intensive monitoring of seed lots was found to be associated with a significant reduction of infections with blackleg causing SRP. A phage therapy has been developed to protect (seed) potato tubers against soft rot during storage. Various bacteriophages and bacterial antagonists were characterized and some evaluated for control of potato soft rot and/or blackleg. Steam treatments for seed tubers were found to decrease the blackleg incidence. Cold plasma treatment was found to kill SRP grown in vitro. Similarly, stabilized silver nanostructures killed SRP. It was found that seed potato lots can differ in suppressiveness against D. solani. Indications were found that the microbiome in tuber tissue plays a role in this.
    Unlocking the multiple public good services from balanced fertilizers
    Bindraban, Prem S. ; Dimkpa, Christian O. ; Angle, Scott ; Rabbinge, Rudy - \ 2018
    Food Security 10 (2018)2. - ISSN 1876-4517 - p. 273 - 285.
    Food loss - Human health - Innovative fertilizers - Micronutrients - Plant health - Resilience - Sector transformation
    Fertilizers produce over half of the world’s food and permit less encroachment into pristine lands. Yet, the low uptake efficiency by crop plants causes nutrient losses that drive global change. Mitigating measures have been insufficient to address the problems, and policy interventions, NGO involvement, and R&D investments have been too insignificant to transform the fertilizer sector. Here, we discuss the contribution of balanced mineral fertilizers to increasing the nutritional value of crop produce to improve human nutrition and health; healthier plants to reduce biocide use; plant robustness to enhance tolerance to abiotic stresses; and increased metabolite production to improve taste and shelf-life. We reflect on raising awareness about these multiple fertilizer-based public good services for realizing several Sustainable Development Goals which can be achieved through a comprehensive nutrient assessment to catalyze transformation in research, policy and industry.
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