As a major food source for much of the world, rice is one of the most important plants on earth. Keeping it safe from disease has become, in part, the task of a group of three researchers from Iowa State University and one from Kansas State University. The researchers are looking at two bacterial diseases of rice. The most costly is bacterial blight of rice, which is caused by a bacterium called Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzae, and can diminish yield by up to 50 percent. "This is the most important bacterial disease in rice, and in some areas, it is the most important rice disease of any kind," said Adam Bogdanove, an associate professor of plant pathology who is part of the ISU research team.