Plant diseases caused by bacteria are an important problem in the cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses. One example of such disease are hairy roots in tomato and eggplant. Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture investigates the possibilities to prevent excessive root growth.

This disease is caused by virulent strains of Rhizobium rhizogenes. The disinfection methods used to prevent the disease often result in inadequate inhibition of the development of excessive root growth. Therefore, it is necessary to arrive at a new approach in the control of this plant disease.

Bacteria are unicellular organisms which can function separate from each other. But there are situations where it is more advantageous to act as a group. This happens, for example during the infection of a plant. If one bacterium is infecting a plant it is likely that infection is not going to be successful. Bacteria communicate then with each other to coordinate their attack on the plant. Therefore the chance of successful infection is increased.

In the new project at Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, started in 2015 in collaboration with Koppert BV, Rijk Zwaan BV and LTO Glaskracht, we investigates the possibilities for disrupting the communication between these plant pathogenic bacteria to prevent infection of a plant.

Financial support research: Topsector Tuinbouw en Uitgangsmateriaal, Productschap Tuinbouw, Koppert B.V. and Rijk Zwaan B.V