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Biosciences Monthly Seminar Series - Burkholderia bacteria are well known human opportunistic pathogens, but can we now exploit their beneficial properties as biopesticides and plant-growth promoting bacteria?

Part of the Biosciences Monthly Seminar Series.

Speaker: Professor Eshwar Mahenthiralingam

Event details


The presentation will outline the problematic nature of Burkholderia bacteria as cystic fibrosis lung infection pathogens, plant disease causing agents, and industrial contaminants of pharmaceuticals and home/personal care products. This will be contrasted with the beneficial properties of Burkholderia bacteria as antibiotic producers, biopesticides and plant-beneficial bacteria. Using genetics and genomics to untangle the negatives versus the positives of their biology will be highlighted, and ultimately lead to a discussion on whether genetic modification can be used to create safe Burkholderia biopesticides in future.

Useful references:

  1. Mahenthiralingam, E., Urban, T.A., and Goldberg, J.B. (2005) The multifarious, multireplicon Burkholderia cepacia complex, Nature Reviews Microbiology 3: 144-156;
  2. Mullins, A.J., Murray, J.A.H., Bull, M.J., Jenner, M., Jones, C., Webster, G., et al. (2019) Genome mining identifies cepacin as a plant-protective metabolite of the biopesticidal bacterium Burkholderia ambifaria, Nature Microbiology 4: 996-1005;
  3. Petrova, Y.D., Zhao, J., Webster, G., Mullins, A.J., Williams, K., Alswat, A.S., et al. (2022) Cloning and expression of Burkholderia polyyne biosynthetic gene clusters in Paraburkholderia hosts provides a strategy for biopesticide development, Microbial Biotechnology;