Revisiting wishful thinking: the need of molecular tools to accurately assess the risks associated with microbial biocontrol agents
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In this issue of JPDP, Ben Lugtenberg comments on an opinion paper questioning the safety of biological control agents (Deising et al. 2017). Lugtenberg is commenting on concern(s) raised by Deising et al. (2017) that antagonistic biocontrol microbes newly introduced into agro-ecosystems establish confronting interactions, in which silent secondary metabolism gene clusters may be activated and synthesis of structurally and toxicologically unknown secondary metabolites may be synthesized. Synthesis of secondary metabolites may be induced either in the biocontrol agent(s) or in the microbial residents. In microbial consortia, exchange and enzymatic modification of secondary metabolites will give rise to a cocktail of compounds with unknown, possibly toxic or even carcinogenic function. Activation of secondary metabolite gene clusters and formation of novel compounds in microbial consortia have been shown (Deising et al. 2017, and references therein), are accepted in the scientific...
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The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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