World experts convene to improve bacterial blight management and increase farmers’ yields

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MANILA, Philippines (17 October 2023) – Plant pathologists from all over the world shared the latest discoveries and innovations to increase bacterial blight resistance in rice and mitigate its impact on rice production at the 7th International Conference on Bacterial Blight (ICBB07).

Bacterial blight can cause up to 70% yield loss, making it one of the most destructive diseases in rice. It kills seedlings within two to three weeks, and those that survive are stunted, have reduced tillering, and produce poor-quality grains.

ICBB07 featured studies and technological advances aimed at controlling the spread of the disease. First convened in Japan in 2004, the ICBB responds to the need for developing and disseminating better tools for detection, identification, and race-typing of the reference Xoo culture collection, and identify sets of near-isogenic rice carrying specific R genes interacting with corresponding avr genes in the bacteria.

Hans Bhardwaj, director for Rice Breeding Innovations at the International Rice Research Institute reiterated the role that the conference plays in the overall advancement of rice research.

“Breeding hybrids with high genetic potential is one thing,” said Dr. Bhardwaj, “However, we need specific expertise to realize the full potential of these varieties. This is a collective effort, and through this conference, your knowledge and experiences come into play.”

PathoTracer , a tool that reduces the time it takes to identify the contemporary and evolving strains of bacteria causing bacterial blight, was introduced at the conference. The decision support system integrates early-season pathogen diagnostics and disease resistance profiles intended for use by public and private enterprises in accurately defining breeding priorities and in implementing coordinated actions to manage crop diseases in real time.

The conference also tackled new findings on BB global distribution…

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