Researchers develop method for early detection of bacterial infections in crops

Rapid detection of bacterial infection (Xanthomonas campestris pv. Campestris (Xcc)) in leafy Choy Sum greens using a quantitative algorithm based on Raman spectroscopy. On the right, the Infection Response Index is displayed, which can help farmers identify infections and take action. Credit: Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) researchers and their local collaborators at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) have developed a rapid method based on Raman spectroscopy for the detection and quantification of early bacterial infections in cultures. Raman spectral biomarkers and diagnostic algorithm enable non-invasive and early diagnosis of bacterial infections in crop plants, which may be essential for advances in plant disease management and agricultural productivity.

In the face of growing demand for global food supply and security, there is a growing need to improve agricultural production systems and increase crop productivity to meet this challenge. Globally, infection with bacterial pathogens in crop plants is one of the major contributors to crop yield losses. Climate change is also making the problem worse by accelerating the spread of plant diseases. Therefore, the development of methods for the rapid and early detection of crops infected with pathogens is important to improve disease management in plants and reduce crop losses.

The breakthrough of researchers at SMART and TLL offers a faster and more accurate method of detecting bacterial infections in crops at an earlier stage, compared to existing techniques. The team explained their research in an article titled “Rapid Detection and Quantification of Innate Plant Immune Response Using Raman Spectroscopy” published in Frontiers in plant sciences.

“The early detection of crop plants infected with pathogens is an important step in improving the management of plant diseases,” said co-lead senior research professor of DiSTAP, vice president of TLL and co-corresponding author, Chua Nam Hai. “This will allow the rapid and selective elimination of the pathogen load and will slow down the spread of the disease to other neighboring crops.”

Traditionally, the diagnosis of plant diseases has involved a simple visual inspection of plants for symptoms and severity of the disease. “Visual inspection methods are often ineffective, as disease symptoms usually only manifest at relatively late stages of infection, when the pathogen load is already high and remedial measures are limited. Therefore, new methods are needed for rapid and early detection of bacterial infection. The idea would be like having medical tests to identify human diseases at an early stage, instead of waiting for visual symptoms to appear so that an intervention or early treatment can be applied, ”says the principal investigator of DiSTAP, professor at MIT and co-corresponding author, Rajeev RAM.

While existing techniques, such as current molecular detection methods, can detect bacterial infection in plants, their use is often limited. Molecular detection methods largely depend on the availability of pathogen-specific gene or antibody sequences to identify bacterial infections in cultures; implementation is also time consuming and not adaptable for field application due to its high cost and cumbersome equipment required, making it impractical for use on agricultural farms.

“At DiSTAP, we have developed a quantitative algorithm based on Raman spectroscopy that can help farmers quickly identify bacterial infections. The developed diagnostic algorithm uses Raman spectral biomarkers and can be easily implemented in cloud-based computation and prediction platforms. more efficient than existing techniques because it allows precise identification and early detection of bacterial infections, two crucial elements in saving cultivated plants that would otherwise be destroyed ”, explained Dr Gajendra Pratap Singh, Scientific Director and Principal Investigator at DiSTAP, and co-lead author.

A portable Raman system can be used on agricultural farms and provides farmers with an accurate and simple yes or no answer when used to test for the presence of bacterial infections in crop plants. The development of this rapid and non-invasive method will improve plant disease management and have a transformative impact on farms by effectively reducing crop yield losses and increasing productivity.

“Using the diagnostic algorithm method, we experimented with several edible plants such as Choy Sum,” says Dr. Rajani Sarojam, DiSTAP and TLL principal investigator and co-corresponding author. “The results showed that the method based on Raman spectroscopy can rapidly detect and quantify the innate immune response in plants infected with bacterial pathogens. We believe that this technology will be beneficial for farms to increase their productivity by reducing their yield loss due to plant diseases. . “

Researchers are currently working on the development of customized high-throughput portable or hand-held Raman spectrometers that will quickly and easily perform Raman spectral analysis on field crops.

The development and discovery of the diagnostic algorithm and Raman spectral biomarkers was carried out by SMART and TLL. TLL also confirmed and validated the detection method using mutant plants.


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More information:
Pil Joong Chung et al, Rapid detection and quantification of the innate immune response of plants using Raman spectroscopy, Frontiers in plant sciences (2021). DOI: 10.3389 / fpls.2021.746586

Provided by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology

Quote: Researchers Develop Method for Early Detection of Bacterial Infections in Cultures (2021, November 18) Retrieved November 18, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-11-method-early-bacterial-infection -crops.html

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