Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Karnal Bunt Struggles To Spread Without Large Numbers

Date:
August 5, 2002
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Luckily for us, the economically devastating Karnal bunt fungus needs personal ads and singles bars more than we do. Airborne spores from the fungus, which damages wheat crops, are limited in how well they can start new infections over long distances, according to the findings from a Kansas State University project.

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- Luckily for us, the economically devastating Karnal bunt fungus needs personal ads and singles bars more than we do.

Airborne spores from the fungus, which damages wheat crops, are limited in how well they can start new infections over long distances, according to the findings from a Kansas State University project.

A phenomenon known as the Allee effect occurs when a small population of a species spread over a large area has little success in reproduction. The reason is that when individuals are dispersed over a wide area, it becomes difficult to find a mate. Like male and female humans, each Karnal bunt spore has something similar to a gender, and must find a spore with a different gender to reproduce. Karnal bunt has a larger spore that can reproduce on its own, but is heavier and less likely to be blown over long distances. It is the bunt's lighter, airborne spore that needs a mate.

Small populations of the Karnal bunt pathogen are therefore expected to decline, instead of grow.

"If there is an Allee effect, as there is with this fungus, it makes it harder for a population to get over that hump to be a viable population. It makes it harder for the Karnal bunt pathogen to invade," said Karen Garrett, assistant professor of plant pathology at K-State. "With this fungus, the population needs a critical mass to function well."

Garrett is working on the Allee research with Robert Bowden, U.S. Department of Agriculture research plant pathologist. The results of their work will be presented at the Ecological Society of America's meeting in Tucson, Ariz., Aug. 4 to 9.

The research is good news for farmers in the U.S. Many countries have trade barriers against areas that are infested with Karnal bunt. Some regions in Arizona and Texas, where the pathogen has been found, cannot export wheat to those countries. Such a ban would be devastating in a state like Kansas, where wheat growers heavily depend on exports. Garrett said the results of the study may influence how trade officials in other countries regard the risk of Karnal bunt to their own wheat industry.

"That's part of why there is so much interest in the invasive potential of this pathogen," Garrett said.

Karnal bunt has little effect on the amount of wheat that a crop can produce, but it does affect its quality. Wheat infected with Karnal bunt tends to have a fishy odor and may have an unpleasant taste.

Garrett and Bowden described the Allee effect for Karnal bunt after running mathematical models. Garrett noted that some aspects of the life cycle of the Karnal bunt pathogen are not well understood, so their results will need to be adjusted as new research becomes available.

"We're making some assumptions to come up with particular risk estimates, but it is clear that this requirement to find another mating type will reduce the Karnal bunt pathogen's potential as an invasive species," Garrett said.

Garrett and Bowden received funding for work with plant disease epidemics from the National Science Foundation and the Kansas State Agricultural Experiment Station. Their work will be published in the journal Phytopathology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Karnal Bunt Struggles To Spread Without Large Numbers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020805074842.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2002, August 5). Karnal Bunt Struggles To Spread Without Large Numbers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020805074842.htm
Kansas State University. "Karnal Bunt Struggles To Spread Without Large Numbers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020805074842.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins