Healthy grain fiber helps barley resist pests

March 19, 2015

Research at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus has shed light on the action of the serious agricultural pest, cereal cyst nematode, which will help progress improved resistant varieties.

Published in the journal New Phytologist, the researchers showed how the composition of the cell wall that surrounds the feeding sites of these tiny parasitic worms in the plant roots differs between resistant and susceptible varieties of barley.

"A type of fibre that we usually associate with wholegrain and healthy foods ? beta-glucan ? accumulates in the cell walls surrounding nematode feeding sites in the resistant variety Chebec, but not those of the susceptible variety Skiff," says corresponding author and University of Adelaide ARC Research Fellow Dr Matthew Tucker.

The research is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide-based ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). It is led by Dr Tucker and Professor Diane Mather, the JAT Mortlock Chair in Crop Improvement

Cereal cyst nematode is a microscopic parasitic worm that lives in soils and infects the roots of cereal crops such as barley, wheat and oats. This affects root growth and leads to poor nutrient uptake, a reduction in crop yield and, in susceptible varieties, more worm eggs in the soil for ongoing infection.

"Fortunately many barley varieties carry genetic resistance to cereal cyst nematode; in these cases, worms enter the roots, but relatively few females develop to maturity. By comparing the cyst nematode infection cycle in resistant and susceptible barley varieties, we can identify changes that might be part of natural defence strategies," says Dr Tucker.

Crop losses associated with parasitic cyst nematodes have been estimated at around 10% worldwide, contributing to approximately $100 billion worth of annual global crop damage. In Australia alone, losses due to cereal cyst nematode have been estimated to be $84 million per year, but could be as high as $600 million if current control measures aren't used.

"We think that altered beta-glucan abundance around the nematode feeding sites of barley roots may influence nutrient flow into the feeding site and subsequently into the nematode," says Dr Tucker.

"We also identified several new genes that are influenced by nematode infection and may influence beta-glucan levels as a response to infection in barley roots. We aim to use this information to identify varieties with different cell wall composition in the roots and determine the impact on resistance, possibly leading to new targets for resistance strategies in barley and other cereal crops."
-end-
This research is also supported by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC).

Dr Matthew Tucker
ARC Future Fellow
ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 7260
Mobile: +61 403 314 740
matthew.tucker@adelaide.edu.au

Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084
robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au

University of Adelaide

Related Infection Articles from Brightsurf:

Halving the risk of infection following surgery
New analysis by the University of Leeds and the University of Bern of more than 14,000 operations has found that using alcoholic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) halves the risk of infection in certain types of surgery when compared to the more commonly used povidone-iodine (PVI).

How plants shut the door on infection
A new study by an international team including University of Maryland scientists has discovered the key calcium channel responsible for closing plant pores as an immune response to pathogen exposure.

Sensing infection, suppressing regeneration
UIC researchers describe an enzyme that blocks the ability of blood vessel cells to self-heal.

Boost to lung immunity following infection
The strength of the immune system in response to respiratory infections is constantly changing, depending on the history of previous, unrelated infections, according to new research from the Crick.

Is infection after surgery associated with increased long-term risk of infection, death?
Whether experiencing an infection within the first 30 days after surgery is associated with an increased risk of another infection and death within one year was the focus of this observational study that included about 660,000 veterans who underwent major surgery.

Revealed: How E. coli knows how to cause the worst possible infection
The discovery could one day let doctors prevent the infection by allowing E. coli to pass harmlessly through the body.

UK study shows most patients with suspected urinary tract infection and treated with antibiotics actually lack evidence of this infection
New research presented at this week's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 13-16, 2019) shows that only one third of patients that enter the emergency department with suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) actually have evidence of this infection, yet almost all are treated with antibiotics, unnecessarily driving the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Bacteria in urine doesn't always indicate infection
Doctors should think carefully before testing patients for a urinary tract infection (UTI) to avoid over-diagnosis and unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to updated asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Subsidies for infection control to healthcare institutions help reduce infection levels
Researchers compared three types of infection control subsidies and found that under a limited budget, a dollar-for-dollar matching subsidy, in which policymakers match hospital spending for infection control measures, was the most effective at reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections.

Dengue virus infection may cause severe outcomes following Zika virus infection during pregnancy
This study is the first to report a possible mechanism for the enhancement of Zika virus progression during pregnancy in an animal model.

Read More: Infection News and Infection Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.