First BCA candidates for Powdery mildew isolated

In the Netherlands, scientists of BIOCOMES started with the isolation and selection of fungi for the development of a new biological control product to control Powdery mildew.

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In several European countries samples of leaves infected with Powdery mildew are collected.

One of the goals of the EU project BIOCOMES is the development of a biological control product to protect cereals against powdery mildew. In different countries partners of BIOCOMES sampled leaves of plants infected with powdery mildew. In the Netherlands, a group of scientists from Wageningen UR are collecting fungi from the mildew pustule, the sporulating colony of the pathogen, to find a potential biological control agent against Powdery Mildew.

Pre selection

Right now, around 200 fungal isolates are gathered from the pustules from plants infected with powdery mildew. These fungi are currently screened on several criteria needed to develop a biological control product, such as growth at low temperatures, no growth at human body temperature, and resistance against drought and UV. Next year these fungi will be tested on cereals under controlled conditions in climate rooms to find out if these fungi have an antagonistic effect against Powdery mildew. In total the scientists will test around 1000 fungi from plant samples that are collected in different European countries.

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In Wageningen, scientists gather fungi from the Powdery Mildew and grow them on medium to isolate the spores for a pre screening.

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of plants. The fungus Blumeria graminis is causing powdery mildew in cereals. Wheat, barley and rye are grown on more than 44 million ha in the EU. Powdery mildew is a key fungal disease in these crops, causing losses of up to 45%.

Biocontrol of Powdery Mildew

No biological control agent (BCA) is currently registered for the control of Powdery mildew in cereals in the European Union. In this project, BIOCOMES, the goal is to develop a spray containing a biological control product based on fungi to protect plants against Powdery mildew for conventional and biological farming. Read more about the project goals on this page.

Author

Jürgen Köhl
Jürgen Köhl
Powdery mildew in cereals
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