Japanese  
  Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Biology > As Hubs for Bees And… >
As Hubs for Bees And Pollinators, Flowers May Be Crucial in Disease Transmission

Published: February 24, 2014.
By University of Massachusetts at Amherst
http://www.umass.edu

AMHERST, Mass. – Like a kindergarten or a busy airport where cold viruses and other germs circulate freely, flowers are common gathering places where pollinators such as bees and butterflies can pick up fungal, bacterial or viral infections that might be as benign as the sniffles or as debilitating as influenza.

But "almost nothing is known regarding how pathogens of pollinators are transmitted at flowers," postdoctoral researcher Scott McArt and Professor Lynn Adler at the University of Massachusetts Amherst write. "As major hubs of plant-animal interactions throughout the world, flowers are ideal venues for the transmission of microbes among plants and animals."

In a recent review in Ecology Letters with colleagues at Yale and the University of Texas at Austin, McArt and Adler survey the literature and identify promising areas for future research on how floral traits influence pathogen transmission.

As the authors point out, "Given recent concerns about pollinator declines caused in part by pathogens, the role of floral traits in mediating pathogen transmission is a key area for further research." They say their synthesis could help efforts to control economically devastating pollinator-vectored plant pathogens such as fire blight, which affects rose family fruits such as apples and pears, and mummyberry disease, which attacks blueberries.

McArt adds, "Our intent with this paper is to stimulate interest in the fascinating yet poorly understood microbial world of flowers. We found several generalities in how plant pathogens are transmitted at flowers, yet the major take-home from our paper may be in pointing out that this is an important gap in our knowledge."

The authors identified 187 studies pertaining to plant pathogens published between 1947 and 2013 in which floral visitors were implicated in transmission and where transmission must have occurred at flowers or pathogen-induced pseudoflowers. These are flower-like structures made by a pathogen that can look and smell like a real flower, for example. Regarding animal pathogens, they identified 618 studies published before September 2013 using the same criteria.

"In total, we found eight major groups of animal pathogens that are potentially transmitted at flowers, including a trypanosomatid, fungi, bacteria and RNA viruses," they note. Their paper, "Arranging the bouquet of disease: Floral traits and the transmission of plant and animal pathogens," was featured in the publisher's "News Round-Up" of "most newsworthy research."

Traditionally, research on flower evolution has focused largely on selection by pollinators, but as McArt and colleagues point out, pollinators that also transmit pathogens may reduce the benefits to the plant of attracting them, depending on the costs and benefits of pollination. The researchers say more work is needed before scientists can know whether a flower's chemical or physical traits determine the likelihood that pathogens are transmitted, for example, and whether infection by pathogens is an inevitable consequence of pollinator visitation.

"Plant pathologists have made great strides in identifying floral traits that mediate host plant resistance to floral pathogens in individual systems; synthesizing this literature can provide generality in identifying traits that mediate plant-pathogen dynamics. From the pollinator's perspective, there has been surprisingly little work elucidating the role of flowers and floral traits for pathogen transmission. Given recent concerns about pollinator declines caused in part by pathogens, understanding the role of floral traits in disease transmission is a key missing element," say McArt and colleagues.



Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


 
This is form to send feedback to the editors. Tell us what you think about this article. All comments are not published. If you are looking for a response to a question please use our another feedback page.
Related »

Protein 
2/21/12 

More Grapes, Less Wrath: Hybrid Antimicrobial Protein Protects Grapevines from Pathogen
By Los Alamos National Laboratory
Species 
12/23/10 
Gatekeeper for Tomato Pollination Identified
By University of California - Davis
Tomato plants use similar biochemical mechanisms to reject pollen from their own flowers as well as pollen from foreign but related plant species, thus guarding against both inbreeding and …
Plant 
2/21/12 
Fused Genes Tackle Deadly Pierce's Disease in Grapevines
By University of California - Davis
A gene fusion research project led by a University of California, Davis, plant scientist delivers a one-two punch to Pierce's disease, a deadly threat to California's world-renowned wine industry. …
Proteins 
3/29/11 

How Do Plants Fight Disease?
By University of California - Riverside
Plant 
11/8/13 

Defending Food Crops: Whitefly Experimentation to Prevent Contamination of Agriculture
By The Journal of Visualized Experiments
Maloof 
6/26/13 

Comparing Genomes of Wild And Domestic Tomato
By University of California - Davis
Seufferheld 
1/4/11 
University of Illinois Research Makes Plant Breeding Easier
By University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois research has resulted in the development of a novel and widely applicable molecular tool that can serve as a road map for making plant breeding easier …
Plants 
11/4/10 
Spontaneous GMOs in Nature
By Lund University
Genetically modified plants can come about by natural means. A research group at Lund University in Sweden has described the details of such an event among higher plants. It …
More » 
 
ScienceNewsline  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese Edition
The selection and placement of stories are determined automatically by a computer program. All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.