Many of us are familiar with the ‘zombie fungus’ (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis) which turns ants into ‘zombies’. The fungus is able to manipulate the ant behaviour to its own ends, which are to find the best spot to release its spores for reproduction, one of these released spores might land on another ant and the cycle can continue. This is not an isolated case and there are other examples this ‘zombifying’ behaviour in animals, it is also seen in plants.
Posted in Pathogens
Tagged Halloween, Happy Halloween, pathogen, pathogens, phytopathology, phytoplasma, phytoplasmas, plant cells, plant disease, plant infection, plant pathogen, plant pathology, plants, plants vs. zombies, zombie, zombies
It’s well known that animals can fight pathogens using immune cells and antibodies which travel around the body in the blood. Plants lack these mobile immune cells and they don’t produce antibodies. So, how do plants defend themselves against pathogens?
(Figure 1, a diseased and resistant leaf, from apsnet.org)