SIU doctoral student finds way to help soybean crops impacted by sudden death syndrome

SIU doctoral student finds way to help soybean crops impacted by sudden death syndrome
This is a soybean crop impacted by sudden death syndrome. (Source: Mirian Pimentel)

Carbondale, Ill. (KFVS) - Sudden death syndrome can kill soybean pods and even entire plants.

Southern Illinois University doctoral student, Mirian Pimentel, has a new tool to help combat sudden death syndrome, a fungus disease impacting the roots of soybeans causing leaves to turn yellow and die.

“Sudden death syndrome is a disease that is among the top disease that affects soybeans,” she said.

“We identified some biological reagents, which is our beneficial fungi that is able to fight that pathogen that causes sudden death syndrome," she said.

She and her colleagues have created a “good” mold to help combat the disease found on the crops.

“We grow them like this, and we can either put this on the seed coat before planting the soybean or we can make solution,” she said.

SDS impacts farmers financially each year, and research shows it can cause up to 80 percent of damage to crops.

Professor Dr. Ahmed Fakhoury said this was a big deal.

“It’s an ongoing battle because those pathogens can respond to whatever we throw at them; so you throw out a chemical control, some of them could become resistant,” Fakhoury said.

Now, they plan to find a way to make this discovery into something farmers can buy at the store.

“We’re trying to maybe see if we have some industry partners who are willing to work with us to evolve this product so that it’s more marketable,” he said.

After years of research on this, he’s excited.

“It’s opening the door to a new type of research,” he said.

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