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Stuttgart, Germany

Stockinger H.,CNRS Agroecology Lab | Peyret-Guzzon M.,CNRS Agroecology Lab | Koegel S.,Botanical Institute | Bouffaud M.-L.,CNRS Agroecology Lab | Redecker D.,CNRS Agroecology Lab
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Due to the potential of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, Glomeromycota) to improve plant growth and soil quality, the influence of agricultural practice on their diversity continues to be an important research question. Up to now studies of community diversity in AMF have exclusively been based on nuclear ribosomal gene regions, which in AMF show high intra-organism polymorphism, seriously complicating interpretation of these data. We designed specific PCR primers for 454 sequencing of a region of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II gene, and established a new reference dataset comprising all major AMF lineages. This gene is known to be monomorphic within fungal isolates but shows an excellent barcode gap between species. We designed a primer set to amplify all known lineages of AMF and demonstrated its applicability in combination with high-throughput sequencing in a long-term tillage experiment. The PCR primers showed a specificity of 99.94% for glomeromycotan sequences. We found evidence of significant shifts of the AMF communities caused by soil management and showed that tillage effects on different AMF taxa are clearly more complex than previously thought. The high resolving power of high-throughput sequencing highlights the need for quantitative measurements to efficiently detect these effects. © 2014 Stockinger et al.


Bhat A.I.,Indian Institute of Spices Research | Hohn T.,Botanical Institute | Selvarajan R.,National Research Center for Banana
Viruses | Year: 2016

Badnaviruses (Family: Caulimoviridae; Genus: Badnavirus) are non-enveloped bacilliform DNA viruses with a monopartite genome containing about 7.2 to 9.2 kb of dsDNA with three to seven open reading frames. They are transmitted by mealybugs and a few species by aphids in a semi-persistent manner. They are one of the most important plant virus groups and have emerged as serious pathogens affecting the cultivation of several horticultural crops in the tropics, especially banana, black pepper, cocoa, citrus, sugarcane, taro, and yam. Some badnaviruses are also known as endogenous viruses integrated into their host genomes and a few such endogenous viruses can be awakened, e.g., through abiotic stress, giving rise to infective episomal forms. The presence of endogenous badnaviruses poses a new challenge for the fool-proof diagnosis, taxonomy, and management of the diseases. The present review aims to highlight emerging disease problems, virus characteristics, transmission, and diagnosis of badnaviruses. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Stockinger H.,CNRS Agroecology Lab | Peyret-Guzzon M.,CNRS Agroecology Lab | Koegel S.,Botanical Institute | Bouffaud M.-L.,CNRS Agroecology Lab | Redecker D.,CNRS Agroecology Lab
PloS one | Year: 2014

Due to the potential of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, Glomeromycota) to improve plant growth and soil quality, the influence of agricultural practice on their diversity continues to be an important research question. Up to now studies of community diversity in AMF have exclusively been based on nuclear ribosomal gene regions, which in AMF show high intra-organism polymorphism, seriously complicating interpretation of these data. We designed specific PCR primers for 454 sequencing of a region of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II gene, and established a new reference dataset comprising all major AMF lineages. This gene is known to be monomorphic within fungal isolates but shows an excellent barcode gap between species. We designed a primer set to amplify all known lineages of AMF and demonstrated its applicability in combination with high-throughput sequencing in a long-term tillage experiment. The PCR primers showed a specificity of 99.94% for glomeromycotan sequences. We found evidence of significant shifts of the AMF communities caused by soil management and showed that tillage effects on different AMF taxa are clearly more complex than previously thought. The high resolving power of high-throughput sequencing highlights the need for quantitative measurements to efficiently detect these effects.


Forzza R.C.,Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden | Baumgratz J.F.A.,Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden | Bicudo C.E.M.,Botanical Institute | Carvalho Jr. A.A.,Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden | And 18 more authors.
BioScience | Year: 2012

A comprehensive new inventory of Brazilian plants and fungi was published just in time to meet a 2010 Convention on Biological Diversity target and offers important insights into this biodiversity's global significance. Brazil is the home to the world's richest flora (40,989 species; 18,932 endemic) and includes two of the hottest hotspots: Mata Atlntica (19,355 species) and Cerrado (12,669 species). Although the total number of known species is one-third lower than previous estimates, the absolute number of endemic vascular plant species is higher than was previously estimated, and the proportion of endemism (56%) is the highest in the Neotropics. This compilation serves not merely to quantify the scale of the challenge faced in conserving Brazil's unique flora but also serves as a key resource to direct action and monitor progress. Similar efforts by other megadiverse countries are urgently required if the 2020 targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation are to be attained. © 2012 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.


Made by KIT: The microfluidic bioreactor technically reproduces plant tissue. The researchers now start a new project to make the next step. Credit: KIT Plants produce a number of substances that can be used to treat cancer, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Frequently, however, metabolic pathways to obtain the target substance are so complex that its biotechnological production is hardly effective and very expensive. Scientists of KIT now combine their expertise with the technical know-how of Phyton Biotech GmbH, the biggest producer of pharmaceutical ingredients with plant cells. With the help of a microfluidic bioreactor consisting of coupled modules, the scientists technically reproduce complex plant tissue to produce active substances against cancer or Alzheimer's disease more effectively and at lower costs. According to latest estimates, plants form about a million chemical substances, so-called secondary metabolites. Unlike amino acids or sugar, these secondary metabolites are not of vital importance. However, this vast pool of plant products contains a true treasure of pharmaceutically active substances that inhibit the growth of cancer cells or reduce the formation of Alzheimer-typical plaques in the brain. Many of these valuable ingredients cannot be produced synthetically. Often, they have to be extracted directly from wild plants and processed at high costs. Moreover, many of these plants are rare and endangered: For instance, the discovery of Taxol inhibiting cancer cells brought the Pacific yew to the brink of extermination. "For this reason, biotechnological approaches to producing the respective active substances are of high interest," Peter Nick, Professor for Molecular Cell Biology of KIT's Botanical Institute, says. Often, underlying metabolic pathways are highly complex. In the natural plant, the substance of interest mostly is the product of a long chain of steps with many converted interim products. The chemical processes required for this purpose do not necessarily take place in a single plant cell, but in several specialized cell types found in the plant tissue from the root to the leaf. Many years ago, Phyton demonstrated that plant-based medical substances, such as Taxol, can also be produced with minimum resources and sustainably by the cultivation of plant cells in the lab. "Certain substances, however, can be produced neither in a simple cell culture nor in microorganisms manipulated by genetic engineering, because metabolic pathways are too complex," Peter Nick says. "Within the framework of a new research project, we now want to technically reproduce plant tissue with various cell types using a so-called microfluidic bioreactor. It consists of several modules, in which one cell type each is cultivated. The modules are connected via channels. Metabolic products of one cell type then enter the next module for further processing without the different cell types being mixed. In the end, the target substance can be extracted from the flow and, hence, "harvested". The project is managed by the Jülich Project Management Agency (PtJ) and funded with EUR 750,000 by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for a period of two years. The project partners are the Botanical Institute and the Institute of Microstructure Technology (both of KIT) and the company Phyton Biotech GmbH. Together, the three partners possess the expertise required for the project. The Botanical Institute contributes its knowledge of molecular cellular biology of plant cell cultures. Professor Andreas Guber and Dr. Ralf Ahrens of the Institute of Microstructure Technology are responsible for the development and fabrication of partial components of microfluidic bioreactors, their microassembly, and interconnection to a functioning system. The industry partner Phyton Biotech GmbH is a worldwide leading company in the area of plant cell fermentation and supplies the expertise and infrastructure needed to analyze potential applications on the industrial scale. "Cooperation with the experts of KIT will allow us to reach a new level of use of plant cells produced by controlled cultivation," Dr. Gilbert Gorr, Research and Development Director of Phyton, says. "Our joint objective is to make further natural substances accessible, which so far have been produced with large difficulties and high costs only." Phyton Biotech produces high-quality active pharmaceutical ingredients by plant cell fermentation (PCF) and is worldwide supplier of Paclitaxel and Docetaxel. The company has been inspected successfully by authorities, such as EDQM, EMA, FDA, KFDA, and TGA. Apart from production, Phyton also offers development services for customers. These cover the development of plant cell lines and fermentation processes for plant ingredients as well as the development of synthesis processes of complex substances. Explore further: Plant growth without light control: Synthetic photoreceptor stimulates germination and development

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