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Surviving Hard Times

Sep 15, 2023

It feeds on flesh, it kills but can’t be killed, and it’s coming for your fruits and veggies.

That’s right, I’m talking about Botrytis cinerea, a widespread necrotrophic fungal pathogen that affects over 200 different plant species, including common food crops.

Tune in to learn:

  • What this fungus looks like, how it’s transmitted to plants, and what happens once a plant is infected
  • Plant defenses – how plants use small interfering RNA and extracellular vesicles to disrupt the production of fungal proteins
  • What allows certain plants to grow toward the sun
  • New insight into what might enable this fungus to be so widespread and difficult to kill

PhD candidate at UC Riverside, Claire Whitaker, spends her days studying the relationship between this deadly fungus and its host, using Arabidopsis thaliana as the model plant in the lab. More specifically, she’s looking for certain fungal proteins responsible for the virulence of the fungus. She discusses the mode of transmission and method of attack, the use of fungicides, plant physiology, extracellular vesicles, and much more.

Press play for all the details.

Episode also available on Apple Podcasts: