Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Plant Research
Kiara Rodriguez-Nuñez - University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus
Co-Author(s): Diane Xue, Rachel Christenson, and Richard Lankau, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Potato production contributes about a half million dollars to the Wisconsin economy annually. Unfortunately, potatoes can be infected by soil-borne diseases created by pathogens such as Streptomyces scabies. A few techniques, such as balancing pH of the soil, crop rotation and pesticides have been employed to control this disease, but they can limit soil yield. However, the use of beneficial fungal or bacterial communities in soil crops to suppress the pathogens, like S. scabies, may be the best option to control common scab disease. In this study, we investigated the diversity of the fungal community in potato tubers from Wisconsin. Samples were collected within 13 locations and varied in the severity of the disease symptoms. Tissue from healthy potato tubers and both lesioned and healthy tissue samples from infected tubers were collected, and their DNA was isolated. Samples were screened by PCR for a highly conserved part in the fungi genome called ITS regions, which were then sequenced using the Ilumina sequencing method. PCR product was analyzed with gel electrophoresis and the QIIME algorithm software to read the sequences. Statistical analysis was used to uncover the relative abundance of the fungal diversity. More fungal diversity was found in healthy samples than in lesioned samples. In addition, this study shows the amount of fungal diversity increases as the severity of the disease decreases. Fungi from the Helotiales, Minimedusa and Mortierella taxa have been suggested to be related with suppression of common scab disease. Future research will be necessary to determine if these relationships are causal, and if they can be used by growers to reduce disease loads in their fields.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF
Faculty Advisor: Richard Lankau, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: For this experiment I did DNA extraction of the samples, I ran PCR's to look after ITS primers and for further sequencing, and analyzed the data in graphs.