About this Research Topic
The control of pests and diseases is achieved mainly by apply chemical fertilizers and pesticides to the crops, and such applications have contributed significantly to spectacular improvements in food security. However, nowadays-strict regulations on chemical pesticide use exist, and the political pressure to remove the most hazardous chemicals from the market is increasing. Under these circumstances, the use of microorganisms as biological agents (BCA) (biopesticides) to reduce diseases seem to be an appropriate alternative to chemicals. Commonly, the BCAs have no effect or only minor and transient effect on the soil microflora and microfauna. Many of them are highly specific against pathogens; their persistence is limited and biodegradable (does not bioaccumulate). Therefore, the use of BCA is considered an ecologically friendly strategy for integrated disease control in crops. In 2017 a total of 101 BCAs had been registered for the control of diseases in Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America, Japan, New Zealand, and the European Union, and are available on the market.
However, Biocontrol approaches are not as widespread as chemical pesticides, despite their negative side effects. This is largely due to their frequent inconsistency, mainly when applied in field conditions. To avoid this limitation, it is necessary to make advances, to understand better how a BCAs works and enhance its efficiency and robustness in practical utilization as a biopesticide and assist researchers in selecting the most suitable strains of a given BCA. Modern molecular technologies have recently allowed researchers to explore nature as never before, providing powerful approaches to characterize BCA's modes of action. Among these new methodological approaches are the group of disciplines known under the term "omics." Omics techniques are applied in all life sciences areas and take particular biomolecular sets as study objects (e.g., DNA, RNA, proteins, or secondary metabolites) and use high-throughput procedures for their approach. We want to underline the importance of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic knowledge in the understanding of the molecular reasons that render bacteria and fungi useful in biological control. Gather information about how multipartite relations work is central to turning agriculture into a productive, sustainable, environmentally friendly, and resilient system.
The purpose of this Research Topic is to welcome current researches on omic approaches used to learn more about the interactions between BCA-plant-pathogen and the environment and to accelerate the development of BCAs against plant pathogens. This special issue also welcomes scientific contributions on omic techniques' potentials and limitations to understand the complexity of these mechanisms.
In summary, it is feasible to visualize a near future in which the omic techniques will be an obligatory part of the development of the BCAs. Although each approach provides valuable information separately, we will show that, when combined, they paint a more comprehensive picture. This Research Topic welcome contribution focusing on but not restricted to:
· Development of new technologies to improve biological control against plant pathogens: genomic, proteomic, transcriptome, metabolomics, metagenomic
· Development of new biological control agents (BCAs) using new technologies
· Elucidating the action mode of biological control agents (fungi and bacteria) using biotechnological tools
· Induction of host defense mechanisms against plant pathogens by BCA
Keywords: Plant diseases, omic tools, biological control, biopesticides, microbial interaction
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