Promising results of Suicidal Germination Technology against Striga in Field Trials in Sorghum in Tanzania

Tanzania field visit

Recently we tested liquid formulation of two promising suicidal agents MP3 and Nijmegen-1 in Highly Striga infested famers field in Tanzania in collaboration with Dr Dennis Tippe of TARI. The results looks very promising and we observed 50-70% reduction in Striga emergence. The results indicate future scope and hope to reduce Striga infestation in African […]

It’s not witchcraft: the role of abscisic acid for Striga germination and conditioning

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  For the highlighted publication, Muhammad Jamil, Jian You (Eric) Wang, Yagiz Alagoz and colleagues, under the lead of Salim Al-Babili, addressed the question of how Striga hermonthica seed dormancy and germination are correlated with endogenous ABA levels (Jamil et al., 2024). The Plant Journal Editor choice:  […]

Farmer-instruction video on Striga management in sorghum

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More Sorghum, Less Striga? Using resistant cultivars and improved crop nutrition. Striga is a parasitic weed causing severe yield losses to sorghum and other cereal crops in sub-Saharan Africa. This 17-minute farmer-instruction video emphasises the need for an integrated management approach to address that problem. The video shows examples of Striga-resistant sorghum cultivars and suggests […]

New paper: Pectin modifications promote haustoria development in the parasitic plant Phtheirospermum japonicum

Plant Physiology Martina Leso, Anna Kokla, Ming Feng & Charles W Melnyk   The formation of the haustorium is common to all parasitic plants and requires a dedicated process of growth, attachment and tissue invasion. Such a process presumably involves cell wall modifications to allow cell division, cell expansion and the digestion of host […]

New paper: Differences in the ecology of witchweed and vampireweed: Implications for rice farming in Africa


Plants People Planet, Jonne Rodenburg & Lammert Bastiaans   Parasitic weeds in African rice systems affect household-level food security and income generation in Africa. Most affected farmers are smallholders with limited weed management capacities, crop production infrastructure and resources. The facultative parasite Rhamphicarpa fistulosa (rice vampireweed) has become a major problem in rainfed lowland rice whereas the […]

New Publication: Abscisic acid inhibits germination and delays conditioning of Striga seeds and is released upon germination to provide competitive advantage and supporting host infestation

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Striga hermonthica, a root parasitic weed from the Orobanchaceae family, devastates cereals yields and is, therefore, one of the major biological threats to global food security. Herein, we uncover a role of abscisic acid (ABA) as a rhizospheric signal that is involved in controlling Striga seed germination, Striga/Striga and Striga/host interactions. We propose that ABA serves as […]

The endophyte’s endophytes of Rafflesia speciosa: A new article on the brief insight on how microbes affecting parasitism of the giant parasitic flower


Rafflesia is an endangered endophytic holoparasitic plant that lives the majority of its life inside the tissues of its sole plant host, Tetrastigma. Rafflesia floral buds emerge to produce the world’s largest single flower. Like other plants, holoparasites harbor a diverse microbiome, the role(s) of which has remained largely unstudied. Some of it might involve […]

Cuscuta campestris fine-tunes gene expression during haustoriogenesis as an adaptation to different hosts

Screenshot 2024-01-22 at 17.54.50 In this paper we show that Cuscuta can parry the changes in host cell wall composition that it triggered during its infection and that different host species are met with different strategies of gene expression fine-tuning. The same can be triggered by offering isolated cell wall polysaccharides in a host-free system (without a live […]

Extracellular Self- and Non-Self DNA Involved in Damage Recognition in the Mistletoe Parasitism of Mesquite Trees


In this study, we analyzed the stress responses to the exogenous application of self exDNA and nonself exDNA from the mistletoe P. calyculatus as a source of DAMPs in mesquite trees (P. laevigata). Mesquite trees perceive self- and non-self exDNA with the synthesis of ROS-enzymes system, MAPKs activation and spatial concentrations of phytohormones. […]