Croppy old mould hormone

The Phytophthora pathogen ravages plants. Now, after a seventy-year hunt hormone alpha1, which gives this group of moulds their great virulence has been revealed by three teams working together in China and Japan. Phytophthora moulds are responsible for widespread economic damage, including Sudden Oak Death, a disease that has devastated US oak tree populations in California and Oregon. Fungicides have until recently kept crop plants attacked by the pathogen under control, but resistant strains are emerging. Developing inhibitors of the receptors for the hormone could lead to a new way to protect plants from this pathogen.