On the 1st of August, researchers at InnovPlantProtect (InPP), Cristina Azevedo and Rupesh Singh, traveled to the Mondego area, in Montemor-o-Velho, to collect samples of rice infected with fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae, that causes rice blast disease, one of the most common diseases in this cereal worldwide and also in Portugal. The harvests were carried out within the scope of the BlaSTOP project – Develop integrated solutions to combat rice blast disease.
The InPP team, which has been working on the development of biopesticides against rice blast disease, will now analyze the collected rice samples in the laboratory, to isolate and characterize from a genetic point of view the isolates (the cultures of microorganisms) currently present in the Mondego Basin, in order to know the current genetic diversity of Magnaporthe oryzae in Portugal.
In the future, these collections will allow researchers to perform a genetic analysis that compares cultures of microorganisms of fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae currently present in this area of Mondego and those isolated in the 90s by the INIAV team in the national rice breeding program, to study the evolution of virulence, i.e., the degree or capacity of this fungi to cause the disease.
The fieldwork involved the collaboration of António Jordão, a technician from the Regional Directorate for Agriculture and fisheries of the Center (DRAP Centro), and Danny Carvalheiro, a Master’s student at the School of Agronomy (ISA).
The BlaSTOP project aims to develop a sustainable and effective solution for the control of rice blast disease caused by this fungi. The project is supported by COTArroz – Centro Operativo e Tecnológico do Arroz and Casa do Arroz, in the Tagus basin, and Aparroz, in the Sado basin, where the team expects to collect samples shortly.