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Manipulating the grapevine microbiome for novel control strategies of Pierce’s Disease

Elizabeth Deyett: University of California, Riverside

<div>Host-microbe-pathogen interactions are highly dynamic and are poorly understood especially in the context of agricultural cropping systems. However, advances in sequencing technologies have revealed how vitally important microbial diversity and communities are for plant health. By using metagenomic tools, microbes can be identified as being antagonistic to pathogens; thus benefitting the host. This work builds upon that knowledge by utilizing the microbial communities associated with grapevine to find novel microbial alternative management strategies for <i>Xylella fastidiosa(Xf), </i> the causative agent of Pierce’s Disease (PD). We hypothesized that the vines’ microbial composition influences <i>Xf </i>titer and colonization, affecting disease outcome. The aim of this project is to study microbial community temporal and spatial dynamics in PD-symptomatic and asymptomatic bicompartments of grapevines. The overarching goal is to identify biocontrol agents and anti-<i>Xylella</i> bioactive natural molecules of microbial origin for preventative and curative control strategies for PD, respectively. Metagenomic tools and culture-independent methods were utilized to reveal potential beneficial organisms that mitigated PD. The discovery of novel natural microbes to combat pathogens using “Omics” technologies could be an alternative approach to limit the risks of pesticide resistance, increase crop productivity, and support of sustainable agriculture.</div>

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