Aureobasidium – an upcoming agricultural hero
Aureobasidium are black, yeast-like fungi. These microorganisms can provide ecological and safe strategies that might be adopted in agricultural production systems and food processing. In a new review, our knowledge and knowledge gaps about the potential of these microorganism is summarized.
The black yeast-like fungi Aureobasidium spp. are cosmopolitan microorganisms found in a wide variety of extreme and benign environments. This group contain species with potential uses in agriculture and the food industry and it is therefore important to know more about them. A new review article explains how these microorganisms can provide eco-friendly and safe strategies which might be adopted in agricultural production systems and food processing.
– We know that Aureobasidium species can produce a plethora of various metabolites, many of which ﬁnd applications in the agricultural sector to combat plant pathogens, says Johan Stenberg, one of the authors behind the study.
An organism found almost everywhere
Aureobasidium are cosmopolitan microorganisms found in a wide variety of extreme and benign environments. They can be found in forest soil, fresh and hypersaline water, ice, aerial portions, on plant leaves and fruit surfaces.
Their crucial roles in ecosystems around the globe are obvious from their involvement in nutrient cycling, decomposition and bioremediation. Moreover, they are often directly beneﬁcial to humanity by providing pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and immune system boosters.
– Aureobasidium can also play important roles in agriculture as promoters of plant growth and as biocontrol agents in pest control. However, some species can themselves infect animals (including humans) and plants, leading to economic losses says Johan.
– Using microorganisms such as these to combat plant diseases is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2021–2030 as they are friendly to the environment and human health, says Johan.
Many knowledge gaps remain
Although research is progressing in the right direction, many gaps remain in our knowledge of Aureobasidium. For example, many of the mechanisms underlying biocontrol and the promotion of plant growth are still unexplored.
– Increasing our knowledge of the variation and distribution of these microbial traits on a global scale would make it possible to target isolates and optimise crossbreeding to develop these microorganisms for use in agriculture and food processing, concludes Johan.