COLUMBIA, Md.—The reemergence of Potato Virus Y (PVY) in potato seed stock is of great concern to growers because insecticides used to control the aphids that vector PVY do not effectively decrease transmission of the disease.
In response, the US EPA has granted a Section 18 Emergency Exemption to the Montana Department of Agriculture for use of BmJ WG to control PVY on up to 2,675 acres of seed potatoes. Manufactured by Certis USA, BmJ contains Bacillus mycoides isolate J, a bacterium discovered by Montana State University that has been shown to trigger a plant’s immune response to pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses. Products that can produce this response (called systemic acquired resistance or SAR) represent an advancement in the management of pests and plant diseases.
Last year Certis USA entered into a global license agreement with Montana State University-Bozeman and Montana BioAgriculture Inc. of Missoula, MT to develop and commercialize new plant disease control technologies based on Bacillus mycoides isolate BmJ.
MSU Professor of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology Barry Jacobsen and his colleagues discovered and patented BmJ, which is a naturally occurring, nonpathogenic bacterium. BmJ, they found, “turns on” specific genes found in most plants. These genes induce the plant to produce defensive reactions that make it more difficult for a pathogen, such as PVY, to infect the plant. BmJ is a SAR activator with no direct effect on the plant pathogen itself. That characteristic makes BmJ a potentially valuable tool for use in fungicide resistance management programs.