SIU doctoral student discovers new tool to combat soybean death | #students | #parents

CARBONDALE (WSIL) — By the time farmers see the leaves begin to turn yellow, it is already too late.

Sudden Death Syndrome, or SDS, in soybeans is a disease caused by fusarium virguliforme.

“It produces a toxin that can move from the roots to the plants, the leaves and then, and then fully show symptoms,” said Mirian Pimentel, an SIU Plant Pathology PhD student.

Through Pimentel’s research, she and her team have discovered a way to give farmers another tool to fight against SDS.

“We identified and characterized some other fungi that are able to fight the fungal pathogen that causes sudden death syndrome,” said Pimentel.

These organisms, called biological control agents, act as ‘the good guys’ that can fight the pathogens and the effects of SDS.

Pimentel’s advisor, Ahmad Fakhoury, said Pimentel’s research can help give a better understanding to biological control agents and how to use them more effectively.

“We understand how these ‘good guys’ act in the soil, so that can help us come up with practices that improve the activities of the ‘good guys’ in the soil,” Fakhoury said.

Pimentel is excited that her research can help farmers more effectively combat the disease and have a better soybean yield.

“We can offer farmers one more tool in their toolbox to fight that disease. So this dease can be managed,” said Pimentel.

In 2019, Illinois farmers raised more than 532 million bushels of soybeans.

So far the management strategies used to prevent Sudden Death Syndrome include fungicides and planting SDS resistant soybeans.

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