The friend within

Seell here: All endophytic actinomycete (green blobs) that has beell tagged with a fluorescent protein in the endosperm of a wheat seed.

GRAINS Industry Research Scholarship holder Justin Coombs recently stepped into the media limelight, unveiling his GRDC-supported research findings at a ScienceNOW! press conference in Melbourne. A PhD student at Flinders University, Mr Coombs has shown how naturally-occurring bacteria can control cereal crop diseases while boosting growth. The bacteria, known as endophytes, live inside healthy plants and can inhibit plant pathogens such as Rhizoctonia and take-all.

Giving growers more control, Mr Coombs has developed a method to apply the bacteria to wheat seeds. He found Streptomyces sp. bacteria are particularly effective against take-all and can be applied with current methods and farming equipment. The work is the subject of a US patent application.

ScienceNOW! brings science to the media, students and the public and is an initiative of the Victorian Department of State and Regional Development and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

Program 4.2.1 Contact: Mr Justin Coombs 08 8204 4726