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Development of Nursery Plant Protection Strategies Based on Natural Products

Mostafa Abugrain: Oregon state university

<div></p> <p> <strong>Abstract</strong></p> <p>Bioactive natural products have been known to be an important source of human medicines, e.g., antibiotics, anticancer, immunosuppressive agents, antiparasitics, hypolipidimic agents and antimalarials. Many clinically useful drugs have either been natural products, natural product derivatives, or synthetic compounds inspired by natural products. Some natural products have also been used to treat plant diseases. There are many plant diseases that have a significant economic impact. For instance, crown gall and leafy gall diseases caused by the bacterial pathogens, <em>Agrobacterium tumefaciens</em> and phytopathogenic <em>Rhodococcus</em>, respectively, have become a permanent threat in nursery and ornamental industry. Losses due to <em>A. tumefaciens</em> have amounted to many millions of dollars annually in the U.S. The disease caused by <em>Rhodococcus</em> can be responsible for up to 100% losses in some ornamental crops. However, there are no universally effective preventive and curative measures for infected plants. To this end, we embarked a program to test and develop control compounds for broad host range and gall forming bacterial pathogens based on plant and microbial natural products. Through bioassay-guided fractionation, we were able to isolate and characterize the chemical structures of active principles of two plant extracts with excellent antimicrobial activity against pathogenic <em>Rhodococcus</em> strains. Furthermore, we have isolated and structurally elucidated bioactive compounds from a bacterial isolate with significant antimicrobial activity against both <em>Rhodococcus </em>and <em>Agrobacterium</em> strains. Results of this study may lead to the development of new drugs for the prevention and/or treatment of crown gall and leafy gall diseases in nursery and ornamental plants.</div>