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Gene used by bacteria to breach plant defences identified

Scientists have identified the gene used by some infectious bacteria to breach defensive natural products produced by plants.

Plants are able to protect themselves from most bacteria, but some bacteria are able to breach their defences.

"Microbes only become pathogens when they find a way to infect a host and overwhelm the host defences," said lead author Jun Fan from the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park.

"Our findings answer some important questions about host-pathogen biology," he added.

Scientists have confirmed that the chemicals used by cruciferous plants to defend against bacteria are isothiocyanates, nitrogen and sulphur-containing organic compounds produced by plants of the mustard family, such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

These potent molecules have antioxidant, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties in humans.
 
 

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