Infestation by the parasitic weed Striga is a major cause of cereal crop production losses on smallholder farms in Africa. Essential plant nutrients play an important indirect role in parasite seed germination, the first prerequisite for successful parasitism. Here, we demonstrate that increasing the nutrient availability for the host plant can also impede Striga development beyond its germination, independent of the resistance levels of the sorghum host. This insight provides additional support for crop protection recommendations to Striga-affected farmers. Growing a resistant crop variety combined with adequate levels of fertilisers should be the backbone of defence against this parasitic weed.
Published in Plants, People, Planet: https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ppp3.10418