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Opportunity of Research Collaboration on Biocontrol of Wheat Blast Wheat blast,

30 November, '17. Opportunity of Research Collaboration on Biocontrol of Wheat Blast Wheat blast, caused by Magnaporthe oryzaeTriticum pathotype (MoT), is one of the emerging threats to wheat production worldwide. It was first emerged in Parana state of Brazil in 1985 through host jump from a local grass and then spread to several South American countries. In February 2016, the first outbreak of wheat blast in Bangladesh devastated more than 15,000 hectares of wheat. In a rapid response to a new threat of food security of Bangladesh, Prof. Tofazzal Islam with Prof. Sophien Kamoun, Prof. Nicolas Talbot and other 29 researchers from 4 continents applied field pathogenomics and open data sharing approaches and determined the genetic identity and origin of the disease within weeks (http://wheatblast.net). In phylogenomics analyses, the Bangladeshi MoT isolate was shown to be closely related to the highly aggressive wheat infecting South American MoT strain, suggesting that the wheat blast fungus was most likely introduced from South America (https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12915-016-0309-7). This year (2017) wheat blast was detected in the new areas of Bangladesh and also in West Bengal of India. Genetic resources for the resistance breeding are limited and fungicide application seem unreliable. A major target is to find a mitigation of this worrisome enemy of a major food crop in Bangladesh and Asia. Prof. Islam, Prof Sophien and Prof. Nicolas Talbot think that larger scale international collaboration and application of novel approaches are needed to mitigate this enemy of food security before it becomes catastrophic in Asia. Blast affected wheat spikes To share their data with global scientific community, they uploaded the whole genome and transcriptome sequences of a large number of wheat blast fungal strains in open wheat blast website (http://wheatblast.net), which were isolated from the infected wheat field of Bangladesh in 2016 and 2017. Analysis of these data would lead better understanding of the pathogen as well as its molecular cross-talks with wheat. Screening 650 plant probiotic bacteria, they found that four bacteria belonging to the genus Bacillus and Stephylococcus can significantly suppress MoT both in vitro and in vivo. Whole genome sequences of these potential wheat blast biocontrol bacteria were also uploaded (http://s620715531.websitehome.co.uk/owb/?page_id=828). They expect participation of global scientific community in elucidating the underlying molecular mechanisms of these plant probiotics to control wheat blast in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. Their ultimate goal is to develop and deploy environmentally safe biocontrol agent against fearsome wheat blast in Bangladesh and beyond. They are dedicated to share our data through the said website and urge scientific community to work together for combatting this enemy of wheat before it becomes catastrophic in Asia. Please share this message with the relevant researchers in your network.[Communicated by Professor Dr. Tofazzal Islam at Bangabandhu Agriculture University.]

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