Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change complicates plant diseases of the future

Date:
June 26, 2010
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
Human-driven changes in the earth's atmospheric composition are likely to alter plant diseases of the future. Researchers are studying the impact of elevated carbon dioxide, elevated ozone and higher atmospheric temperatures on plant diseases that could challenge crops in these changing conditions.

Soybean plants growing in high carbon dioxide environments have denser canopies that can result in more disease problems. This seedling is showing signs of brown spot on its lower leaves.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Human-driven changes in the earth's atmospheric composition are likely to alter plant diseases of the future. Researchers predict carbon dioxide will reach levels double those of the preindustrial era by the year 2050, complicating agriculture's need to produce enough food for a rapidly growing population.

University of Illinois researchers are studying the impact of elevated carbon dioxide, elevated ozone and higher atmospheric temperatures on plant diseases that could challenge crops in these changing conditions.

Darin Eastburn, U of I associate professor of crop sciences, evaluated the effects of elevated carbon dioxide and ozone on three economically important soybean diseases under natural field conditions at the soybean-free air-concentrating enrichment (SoyFACE) facility in Urbana.

The diseases downy mildew, Septoria brown spot, and sudden death syndrome were observed from 2005 to 2007 using visual surveys and digital image analysis. While changes in atmospheric composition altered disease expression, the responses of the three pathosystems varied considerably, Eastburn said.

Elevated carbon dioxide levels are more likely to have a direct effect on plant diseases through changes to the plant hosts rather than the plant pathogens.

"Plants growing in a high carbon dioxide environment tend to grow faster and larger, and they have denser canopies," Eastburn said. "These dense plant canopies favor the development of some diseases because the low light levels and reduced air circulation allow higher relative humidity levels to develop, and this promotes the growth and sporulation of many plant pathogens."

At the same time, plants grown in high carbon dioxide environments also close their stomata, pores in the leaves that allow the plant to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, more often. Because plant pathogens often enter the plant through the stomata, the more frequent closing of the stomata may help prevent some pathogens from getting into the plant.

In elevated ozone, plant growth is inhibited and results in shorter plants with less dense canopies. This can slow the growth and reproduction of certain pathogens. However, ozone also damages plant tissues that can help pathogens infect the plant more easily.

"Elevated levels of carbon dioxide and ozone can make a plant more susceptible to some diseases, but less susceptible to others," Eastburn said. "This is exactly what we've observed in our climate change experiments."

U of I's SoyFACE was the first facility to expose plants to elevated ozone under completely open-air conditions within an agricultural field.

"The SoyFACE facility allowed us to evaluate the influence of natural variability of meteorological factors such as drought and temperature in conjunction with imposed atmospheric composition (elevated carbon dioxide and ozone) on naturally occurring soybean diseases across several growing seasons," Eastburn said.

He believes rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns will also affect development of plant disease epidemics.

"In some cases, changes of only a few degrees have allowed plant diseases to become established earlier in the season, resulting in more severe disease epidemics," Eastburn said. "The ranges of some diseases are expanding as rising temperatures are allowing pathogens to overwinter in regions that were previously too cold for them."

For example, warmer winters may allow kudzu to expand its range northward. Because kudzu is an alternate host for the soybean rust pathogen, one result of rising temperatures may be that soybean rust arrives in Illinois earlier in the soybean growing season, Eastburn said.

"Information derived from climate change studies will help us prepare for the changes ahead by knowing which diseases are most likely to become more problematic," he said. "Now is the time for plant pathologists, plant breeders, agronomists and horticulturalists to adapt disease management strategies to the changing environment."

Eastburn's soybean research was recently published in Global Change Biology. Researchers also included Melissa DeGennaro and Evan DeLucia of the U of I, Orla Dermody of Pioneer Hi-Bred Switzerland, and Andrew McElrone of the University of California -- Davis.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, an SJU Sigma Xi grant, the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research, the Soybean Disease Biotechnology Center, the Illinois Soybean Association, USDA Hatch funds, and the Office of Science, Department of Energy Grant.

Eastburn will share his latest research on global climate change and the implications for future plant disease epidemics at the 2010 U of I Agronomy Day on Thursday, Aug. 19. For more information on Agronomy Day, go to http://agronomyday.cropsci.illinois.edu/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The original article was written by Jennifer Shike. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Darin M. Eastburn, Melissa M. DeGennaro, Evan H. DeLucia, Orla Dermody, Andrew J. McElrone. Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and ozone alter soybean diseases at SoyFACE. Global Change Biology, 2010; 16 (1): 320 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01978.x

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Climate change complicates plant diseases of the future." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624122056.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2010, June 26). Climate change complicates plant diseases of the future. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624122056.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Climate change complicates plant diseases of the future." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624122056.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) 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