January 18, 2021 0 Comments
Here an interesting article about Trichoderma harzianum, microscopic fungi, helps wild type tomato plants grow bigger and healthier root systems.
Wild type tomatoes, of course, originally grew in the wild. Since their discovery, tomatoes have been genetically manipulated to make them grow larger, or more appealing crops.
The article is very specific about how T. harzianum helps wild type tomatoes grow bigger and healthier.
These fungi colonize wild-type tomato plants and boost their immune systems,” said Lori Hoagland, an associate professor of horticulture. “Over time, we’ve bred tomatoes for yield and flavor, but it seems they have inadvertently lost their ability to benefit from these soil microbes.
The key part of this quote is “but it seems they have inadvertently lost their ability to benefit from these soil microbes.” I think this is likely true with most crops. The microbe plant interaction took millions of years to form. This synergism is common amongst plants and beneficial soil microbes.
It’s not surprising that by genetically manipulating tomatoes, and growing them over and over again in the same soil, this microbe/plant interaction has changed.
It seems this change is not for the better.
Here’s the rest of the article.
WEST LAFAYETTE — Tomato plants are especially vulnerable to foliar diseases that can kill them or impact yield. These problems require a number of pesticides in conventional crops and make organic production especially difficult.
A Purdue University-led team of scientists has evidence that tomatoes may be more sensitive to these types of diseases because they’ve lost the protection offered by certain soil microbes. The researchers found that wild relatives and wild-type tomatoes that associate more strongly with a positive soil fungus grew larger, resisted disease onset and fought disease much better than modern plants.Read More…