SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Banana

171

Antimicrobial peptides are a potent group of defense active molecules that have been utilized in developing resistance against a multitude of plant pathogens. Floral defensins constitute a group of cysteine-rich peptides showing potent growth inhibition of pathogenic filamentous fungi especially Fusarium oxysporum in vitro. Full length genes coding for two Petunia floral defensins, PhDef1 and PhDef2 having unique C-terminal 31 and 27 amino acid long predicted prodomains, were overexpressed in transgenic banana plants using embryogenic cells as explants for Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation. High level constitutive expression of these defensins in elite banana cv. Rasthali led to significant resistance against infection of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense as shown by in vitro and ex vivo bioassay studies. Transgenic banana lines expressing either of the two defensins were clearly less chlorotic and had significantly less infestation and discoloration in the vital corm region of the plant as compared to untransformed controls. Transgenic banana plants expressing high level of full-length PhDef1 and PhDef2 were phenotypically normal and no stunting was observed. In conclusion, our results suggest that high-level constitutive expression of floral defensins having distinctive prodomains is an efficient strategy for development of fungal resistance in economically important fruit crops like banana.

Concepts: Gene, Bacteria, Amino acid, Fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, Fruit, Plant pathogens and diseases, Banana

168

Banana finger drop is defined as dislodgement of individual fruits from the hand at the pedicel rupture area. For some banana varieties, this is a major feature of the ripening process, in addition to ethylene production and sugar metabolism. The few studies devoted to assessing the physiological and molecular basis of this process revealed (i) the similarity between this process and softening, (ii) the early onset of related molecular events, between the first and fourth day after ripening induction, and (iii) the putative involvement of ethylene as a regulatory factor. This study was conducted with the aim of identifying, through a candidate gene approach, a quality-related marker that could be used as a tool in breeding programmes. Here we examined the relationship between ripening ethylene biosynthesis (EB) and finger drop in order to gain further insight into the upstream regulatory steps of the banana finger drop process and to identify putative related candidate genes.

Concepts: DNA, Amino acid, Molecular biology, Biology, Fruit, Ethylene, Ripening, Banana

140

Crypticerya zeteki (Cockerell, 1914) (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha: Monophlebidae) is recorded for the first time from Brazil and Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green, 1908) (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha: Pseudococcidae) is recorded for the first time from the state of Maranhão, Brazil. Both species were collected from branches, leaves and fruits of various fruit trees in the municipalities of São José de Ribamar, São Luís and Paço do Lumiar, Maranhão, Brazil. Crypticerya zeteki was collected on Citrus spp. (Rutaceae), Cocos nucifera (L.) (Arecaceae), Cycas revoluta L. (Cycadaceae), Malpighia punicifolia L. (Malpighiaceae), Mangifera indica L. (Anacardiaceae), Musa paradisiaca L. (Musaceae) and Theobroma grandiflorum Schum (Malvaceae), all first records for this species. Maconellicoccus hirsutus was collected on Spondias tuberosa Arruda (Anacardiaceae) and M. punicifolia L. (Malpighiaceae), both new records for this species.

Concepts: Arecaceae, Fruit, Seed, Mangifera, Banana, Cycad, Cycas, Cycas revoluta

123

Black Sigatoka or black leaf streak disease, caused by the Dothideomycete fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis (previously: Mycosphaerella fijiensis), is the most significant foliar disease of banana worldwide. Due to the lack of effective host resistance, management of this disease requires frequent fungicide applications, which greatly increase the economic and environmental costs to produce banana. Weekly applications in most banana plantations lead to rapid evolution of fungicide-resistant strains within populations causing disease-control failures throughout the world. Given its extremely high economic importance, two strains of P. fijiensis were sequenced and assembled with the aid of a new genetic linkage map. The 74-Mb genome of P. fijiensis is massively expanded by LTR retrotransposons, making it the largest genome within the Dothideomycetes. Melting-curve assays suggest that the genomes of two closely related members of the Sigatoka disease complex, P. eumusae and P. musae, also are expanded. Electrophoretic karyotyping and analyses of molecular markers in P. fijiensis field populations showed chromosome-length polymorphisms and high genetic diversity. Genetic differentiation was also detected using neutral markers, suggesting strong selection with limited gene flow at the studied geographic scale. Frequencies of fungicide resistance in fungicide-treated plantations were much higher than those in untreated wild-type P. fijiensis populations. A homologue of the Cladosporium fulvum Avr4 effector, PfAvr4, was identified in the P. fijiensis genome. Infiltration of the purified PfAVR4 protein into leaves of the resistant banana variety Calcutta 4 resulted in a hypersensitive-like response. This result suggests that Calcutta 4 could carry an unknown resistance gene recognizing PfAVR4. Besides adding to our understanding of the overall Dothideomycete genome structures, the P. fijiensis genome will aid in developing fungicide treatment schedules to combat this pathogen and in improving the efficiency of banana breeding programs.

Concepts: Gene, Virus, Genetic linkage, William Bateson, Banana, Black sigatoka, Sigatoka, Mycosphaerella

84

Using a randomized, crossover, counterbalanced approach, cyclists (N = 20, overnight fasted state) engaged in the four 75-km time trials (2-week washout) while ingesting two types of bananas with similar carbohydrate (CHO) but different phenolic content (Cavendish, CAV; mini-yellow, MIY, 63% higher polyphenols), a 6% sugar beverage (SUG), and water only (WAT). CHO intake was set at 0.2 g/kg every 15 minutes. Blood samples were collected pre-exercise and 0 h-, 0.75 h-,1.5 h-, 3 h-, 4.5 h-, 21 h-, 45 h-post-exercise.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Energy, Starch, Carbohydrate, Sugar, Banana, Bananas

69

Vitamin A deficiency remains one of the world’s major public health problems despite food fortification and supplements strategies. Biofortification of staple crops with enhanced levels of pro-vitamin A (PVA) offers a sustainable alternative strategy to both food fortification and supplementation. As a proof of concept, PVA-biofortified transgenic Cavendish bananas were generated and field trialed in Australia with the aim of achieving a target level of 20 μg/g of dry weight (dw) β-carotene equivalent (β-CE) in the fruit. Expression of a Fe'i banana-derived phytoene synthase 2a (MtPsy2a) gene resulted in the generation of lines with PVA levels exceeding the target level with one line reaching 55 μg/g dw β-CE. Expression of the maize phytoene synthase 1 (ZmPsy1) gene, used to develop “Golden Rice 2”, also resulted in increased fruit PVA levels although many lines displayed undesirable phenotypes. Constitutive expression of either transgene with the maize polyubiquitin promoter increased PVA accumulation from the earliest stage of fruit development. In contrast, PVA accumulation was restricted to the late stages of fruit development when either the banana 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase or the expansin 1 promoters were used to drive the same transgenes. Wild-type plants with the longest fruit development time had also the highest fruit PVA concentrations. The results from this study suggest that early activation of the rate-limiting enzyme in the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway, as well as extended fruit maturation time, are essential factors to achieve optimal PVA concentrations in banana fruit. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Gene, Starch, Fruit, Genetically modified organism, Staple food, Banana, Bananas, Cavendish banana

68

Banana (Musa spp.) is a staple food for more than 400 million people. Over 40% of world production and virtually all the export trade is based on Cavendish banana. However, Cavendish banana is under threat from a virulent fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 (TR4) for which no acceptable resistant replacement has been identified. Here we report the identification of transgenic Cavendish with resistance to TR4. In our 3-year field trial, two lines of transgenic Cavendish, one transformed with RGA2, a gene isolated from a TR4-resistant diploid banana, and the other with a nematode-derived gene, Ced9, remain disease free. Transgene expression in the RGA2 lines is strongly correlated with resistance. Endogenous RGA2 homologs are also present in Cavendish but are expressed tenfold lower than that in our most resistant transgenic line. The expression of these homologs can potentially be elevated through gene editing, to provide non-transgenic resistance.

Concepts: Gene expression, Molecular biology, Fusarium, Fusarium oxysporum, Banana, Bananas, Cavendish banana, Gros Michel banana

54

Rapeseed oil methyl ester (RME) and (bio)ethylene are converted into biofuel with an evenly rising boiling point curve, which fulfills the strict boiling specifications prescribed by the fuel standard EN 590 for modern (petro)diesel engines. Catalyzed by a Pd/Ru system, RME undergoes isomerizing metathesis in a stream of ethylene gas, leading to a defined olefin, monoester, and diester blend. This innovative refining concept requires negligible energy input (60°C) and no solvents and does not produce waste. It demonstrates that the pressing challenge of increasing the fraction of renewables in engine fuel may be addressed purely chemically rather than by motor engineering.

Concepts: Acetic acid, Carboxylic acid, Ester, Distillation, Methyl acetate, Internal combustion engine, Biodiesel, Banana

44

Bananas (Musa spp.), including dessert and cooking types, are giant perennial monocotyledonous herbs of the order Zingiberales, a sister group to the well-studied Poales, which include cereals. Bananas are vital for food security in many tropical and subtropical countries and the most popular fruit in industrialized countries. The Musa domestication process started some 7,000 years ago in Southeast Asia. It involved hybridizations between diverse species and subspecies, fostered by human migrations, and selection of diploid and triploid seedless, parthenocarpic hybrids thereafter widely dispersed by vegetative propagation. Half of the current production relies on somaclones derived from a single triploid genotype (Cavendish). Pests and diseases have gradually become adapted, representing an imminent danger for global banana production. Here we describe the draft sequence of the 523-megabase genome of a Musa acuminata doubled-haploid genotype, providing a crucial stepping-stone for genetic improvement of banana. We detected three rounds of whole-genome duplications in the Musa lineage, independently of those previously described in the Poales lineage and the one we detected in the Arecales lineage. This first monocotyledon high-continuity whole-genome sequence reported outside Poales represents an essential bridge for comparative genome analysis in plants. As such, it clarifies commelinid-monocotyledon phylogenetic relationships, reveals Poaceae-specific features and has led to the discovery of conserved non-coding sequences predating monocotyledon-eudicotyledon divergence.

Concepts: Genetics, Species, Fruit, Polyploidy, Monocotyledon, Banana, Bananas, Plantain

28

Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. They provide essential vitamins and minerals, and their consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. These important plant products can, however, be expensive to purchase, may be of disappointing quality and often have a short shelf life. A major challenge for crop improvement in fleshy fruit species is the enhancement of their health-promoting attributes while improving quality and reducing postharvest waste. To achieve these aims, a sound mechanistic understanding of the processes involved in fruit development and ripening is needed. In recent years, substantial insights have been made into the mechanistic basis of ethylene biosynthesis, perception and signalling and the identity of master regulators of ripening that operate upstream of, or in concert with a regulatory pathway mediated by this plant hormone. The role of other plant hormones in the ripening process has, however, remained elusive, and the links between regulators and downstream processes are still poorly understood. In this review, we focus on tomato as a model for fleshy fruit and provide an overview of the molecular circuits known to be involved in ripening, especially those controlling pigment accumulation and texture changes. We then discuss how this information can be used to understand ripening in other fleshy fruit-bearing species. Recent developments in comparative genomics and systems biology approaches are discussed. The potential role of epigenetic changes in generating useful variation is highlighted along with opportunities for enhancing the level of metabolites that have a beneficial effect on human health.

Concepts: Health, Nutrition, Understanding, Fruit, Tomato, Ethylene, Ripening, Banana