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Identification and use of bacterial volatiles against sugarcane pathogens

Abstract

From an agronomical point of view, there are a lot of strategies that can be used to maximize sugarcane yield and, nowadays, it is expected to increase the production adopting sustainable practices. Several plant growth-promoting bacteria can greatly increase crop yield and health through a wide variety of interaction mechanisms. Recently, our group have isolated more than 7,000 bacteria from sugarcane roots or cultivated soil in different regions, and about 100 had the capacity to produce higher quantity of the hormone auxin and/or solubilize phosphate. These features are well-established as pathways that lead to plant growth. Furthermore, in a preliminary assay, we were able to identify species producing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which were able to promote plant growth. Moreover, it has been reported on the literature that these VOCs can act as pathogen antagonist. The use of biocontrol based on microbial VOCs for sugarcane diseases is promising, since it does not depend on the direct contact and plant colonization, making them ideal molecules for mediating short- and long-distance organism interactions. However, so far, there are only very few studies showing the impact of bacterial VOCs on the health of important agricultural crops and, to the best of our knowledge, there is no study with sugarcane pathogens. Thus, we are convinced that this project is original, and it opens perspectives to several new scientific discoveries, including new molecules to be used against pathogens. It can have positive impacts on the Brazilian sugarcane industry, employing modern agronomic management practices to enhance productivity, to increase sugarcane health, reduce production costs and protect the environment. (AU)

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