Biografi

Jeg forsker på forskjellige anvendte aspekter innenfor plantepatologi. Jeg har jobbet mye med Pectobacteriaceae, som forårsaker bløtråte og stengelråte i potet og ulike andre sykdommer i mange andre vertsplanter. Jeg er spesielt interessert i insekter assosiert med disse bakteriene og andre plantepatogene bakterier i feltet og molekylære mekanismene bak disse forskjellige assosiasjonene.

I det siste var jeg fokusert på praktiske og bioinformatiske implementeringer av metabarkoding eller amplikonsekvensering som et verktøy for deteksjon og identifisering av plantepatogene sopp, Oomycota, nematoder, bakterier, og invaderende plante- og insektarter.

Jeg fikk BSc og MSc fra University of Tübingen, hvor jeg oppdaget min lidenskap for plantepatologi ved Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP). I løpet av doktorgradsperioden min (2015-2018) undersøkte jeg bløtråte i norske potet med prof. May Bente Brurberg (NIBIO / NMBU) som hovedveileder.

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Sammendrag

Soft rot Pectobacteriaceae (SRP) are ubiquitous on earth as there are records of findings from all continents where host plants are grown. This chapter describes information on soft rot diseases on these continents. For some countries, detailed information is provided by local experts on the SRP present, their economic damage, and the management strategies applied for their control. The focus of the chapter is mainly on SRP as causative agents of potato blackleg, although in specific cases details are provided on SRP in other host plants. In Europe, the SRP cause important economic losses mainly on potato, with most species described in the literature being found. In Latin America significant losses are also reported due to potato diseases caused by various Dickeya and Pectobacterium species, while in Australia and Oceania, recent outbreaks of D. dianthicola in potato have resulted in high economic losses. In Asia, however, SRP cause economic losses mainly in vegetable crops other than potato, while in North America SRP cause diseases on a wide range of crops (including potato and ornamental plants) in both field and storage. In Africa SRP are only known to occur in 17 of the 54 African countries but where it is known, potato is the most affected crop.

Sammendrag

Plants with roots and soil clumps transported over long distances in plant trading can harbor plant pathogenic oomycetes, facilitating disease outbreaks that threaten ecosystems, biodiversity, and food security. Tools to detect the presence of such oomycetes with a sufficiently high throughput and broad scope are currently not part of international phytosanitary testing regimes. In this work, DNA metabarcoding targeting the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was employed to broadly detect and identify oomycetes present in soil from internationally shipped plants. This method was compared to traditional isolation-based detection and identification after an enrichment step. DNA metabarcoding showed widespread presence of potentially plant pathogenic Phytophthora and Pythium species in internationally transported rhizospheric soil with Pythium being the overall most abundant genus observed. Baiting, a commonly employed enrichment method for Phytophthora species, led to an increase of golden-brown algae in the soil samples, but did not increase the relative or absolute abundance of potentially plant pathogenic oomycetes. Metabarcoding of rhizospheric soil yielded DNA sequences corresponding to oomycete isolates obtained after enrichment and identified them correctly but did not always detect the isolated oomycetes in the same samples. This work provides a proof of concept and outlines necessary improvements for the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) and metabarcoding as a standalone phytosanitary assessment tool for broad detection and identification of plant pathogenic oomycetes.

Sammendrag

The soft rot Pectobacteriaceae (SRP) infect a wide range of plants worldwide and cause economic damage to crops and ornamentals but can also colonize other plants as part of their natural life cycle. They are found in a variety of environmental niches, including water, soil and insects, where they may spread to susceptible plants and cause disease. In this chapter, we look in detail at the plants colonized and infected by these pathogens and at the diseases and symptoms they cause. We also focus on where in the environment these organisms are found and their ability to survive and thrive there. Finally, we present evidence that SRP may assist the colonization of human enteric pathogens on plants, potentially implicating them in aspects of human/animal as well as plant health.

Sammendrag

Invasive alien species and new plant pests are introduced into new regions at an accelerating rate, due to increasing international trade with soil, plants and plant products. Exotic, plant pathogenic oomycetes in soil from the root zone of imported plants pose a great threat to endemic ecosystems and horticultural production. Detecting them via baiting and isolation, with subsequent identification of the isolated cultures by Sanger sequencing, is labour intensive and may introduce bias due to the selective baiting process. We used metabarcoding to detect and identify oomycetes present in soil samples from imported plants from six different countries. We compared metabarcoding directly from soil both before and after baiting to a traditional approach using Sanger-based barcoding of cultures after baiting. For this, we developed a standardized analysis workflow for Illumina paired-end oomycete ITS metabarcodes that is applicable to future surveillance efforts. In total, 73 soil samples from the rhizosphere of woody plants from 33 genera, in addition to three samples from transport debris, were analysed by metabarcoding the ITS1 region with primers optimized for oomycetes. We detected various Phytophthora and Pythium species, with Pythium spp. being highly abundant in all samples. We also found that the baiting procedure, which included submerging the soil samples in water, resulted in the enrichment of organisms other than oomycetes, compared to non-baited soil samples.

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Sammendrag

Potato soft rot Pectobacteriaceae (SRP) cause large yield losses and are persistent in seed lots once established. In Norway, different Pectobacterium species are the predominant cause of soft rot and blackleg disease. This work aimed to evaluate the potential of real-time PCR for quantification of SRP in seed tubers, as well as investigating the status of potato seed health with respect to SRP in Norway. A total of 34 seed potato lots, including certified seeds, was grown and monitored over three consecutive years. All seed lots contained a quantifiable amount of SRP after enrichment, with very few subsamples being free of the pathogens. A high SRP prevalence based on a qPCR assay, as well as a high symptom incidence in certified seeds were observed, suggesting that current criteria for seed certification are insufficient to determine tuber health and predict field outcomes. Pectobacterium atrosepticum was the most abundant species in the examined seed lots and present in all lots. Consistently good performance of first generation seed lots with respect to blackleg and soft rot incidence, as well as low quantity of SRP in these seed lots demonstrated the importance of clean seed potatoes. Weather conditions during the growing season seemed to govern disease incidence and SRP prevalence more than seed grade. The impact of temperature, potato cultivar and Pectobacterium species on tuber soft rot development were further examined in tuber infection experiments, which showed that temperature was the most important factor in nearly all cultivars. Large-scale quantification of latent infection and predictive models that include contributing factors like weather, infecting bacterial species and cultivar are needed to reduce soft rot and blackleg.

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Sammendrag

Pathogenic soft rot Enterobacteriaceae (SRE) belonging to the genera Pectobacterium and Dickeya cause diseases in potato and numerous other crops. Seed potatoes are the most important source of infection, but how pathogen-free tubers initially become infected remains an enigma. Since the 1920s, insects have been hypothesized to contribute to SRE transmission. To validate this hypothesis and to map the insect species potentially involved in SRE dispersal, we have analyzed the occurrence of SRE in insects recovered from potato fields over a period of 2 years. Twenty-eight yellow sticky traps were set up in 10 potato fields throughout Norway to attract and trap insects. Total DNA recovered from over 2,000 randomly chosen trapped insects was tested for SRE, using a specific quantitative PCR (qPCR) TaqMan assay, and insects that tested positive were identified by DNA barcoding. Although the occurrence of SRE-carrying insects varied, they were found in all the tested fields. While Delia species were dominant among the insects that carried the largest amount of SRE, more than 80 other SRE-carrying insect species were identified, and they had different levels of abundance. Additionally, the occurrence of SRE in three laboratory-reared insect species was analyzed, and this suggested that SRE are natural members of some insect microbiomes, with herbivorous Delia floralis carrying more SRE than the cabbage moth (Plutella xylostella) and carnivorous green lacewing larvae (Chrysoperla carnea). In summary, the high proportion, variety, and ubiquity of insects that carried SRE show the need to address this source of the pathogens to reduce the initial infection of seed material.

Sammendrag

The genus Pectobacterium, which belongs to the bacterial family Enterobacteriaceae, contains numerous species that cause soft rot diseases in a wide range of plants. The species Pectobacterium carotovorum is highly heterogeneous, indicating a need for re-evaluation and a better classification of the species. PacBio was used for sequencing of two soft-rot-causing bacterial strains (NIBIO1006T and NIBIO1392), initially identified as P. carotovorum strains by fatty acid analysis and sequencing of three housekeeping genes (dnaX, icdA and mdh). Their taxonomic relationship to other Pectobacterium species was determined and the distance from any described species within the genus Pectobacterium was less than 94% average nucleotide identity (ANI). Based on ANI, phylogenetic data and genome-to-genome distance, strains NIBIO1006T, NIBIO1392 and NCPPB3395 are suggested to represent a novel species of the genus Pectobacterium, for which the name Pectobacterium polaris sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is NIBIO1006T (=DSM 105255T=NCPPB 4611T).