Study shows pathogens lurking in farm and forest soil

Science has revealed for the first time what microbes are lurking in our soil – and that there are many more harmful ones on farms and in plantation forests than in natural forests.

In his PhD research with the Bio-Protection Research Centre, based at Lincoln University, and Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Andi Makiola studied how land uses such as farming and plantation forestry affected the variety of plant pathogens in the soil and on plant leaves and roots.

Pathogens are organisms that can cause plant disease.  They include fungi, bacteria, and oomycetes (for example, Phytophthora agathidicida, which causes kauri dieback).

Dr Makiola and colleagues used a new method called next-generation sequencing to extract and amplify DNA from soils and plants across New Zealand, revealing what plant pathogens lived in them.
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