Via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Marta Nunes da Silva (laboratory: Plant Biotechnology and Sustainability)
Kiwifruit production in Portugal is ca. 28.000 tones/year, representing an important source of income. However, kiwifruit plants are susceptible to Pseudomonas syringaepv. actinidiae (PSA), the causal agent of kiwifruit bacterial canker, which induces leaf chlorosis, impaired growth, release of bacterial exudates and, ultimately, plant death. PSA was first identified in Asia and since a devastating outbreak in Italy in 2008 it has spread over almost all kiwi producing countries, including Portugal, with production losses in some cases reaching 90 %. This leads to increased costs related with direct production losses, destruction of infected material and orchard investment, thus decreasing the competitiveness of this agronomic sector. Current control techniques consist in the application of copper- and antibiotics-based compounds, with serious risks of environmental contamination and development of resistant bacteria, or in the implementation of cautious agronomic practices, which are not always followed. In the light of this, the goals of the project PSAlert are to: 1) gain insight on which Actinidia spp. cultivars are naturally more tolerant to PSA; 2) identify physiological, metabolic and genetic mechanisms related with PSA tolerance; 3) understand how plant nutrition influences kiwifruit plants susceptibility to PSA; and 4) evaluate the influence of environmentally friendly plant elicitors on plant tolerance against PSA.