Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Combating plant diseases is key for sustainable crops

Date:
April 13, 2011
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Climate change is likely to make plants more vulnerable to infectious disease, which will threaten crop yield and impact on the price and availability of food. Researchers explain how exploiting diversity in crops is the best option to improve food security in a changing climate.

Climate change is likely to make plants more vulnerable to infectious disease, which will threaten crop yield and impact on the price and availability of food. Dr Adrian Newton, presenting his work at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate, explains how exploiting diversity in crops is the best option to improve food security in a changing climate.

Pest and disease management has helped double food production in the last 40 years, but 10-16% of the global harvest is still lost to plant diseases each year costing an estimated US$220 billion. Climate change is impacting on the micro-organisms that cause these diseases.

Fusarium head blight (FHB) -- a fungal disease that affects both the quality and safety of wheat -- has re-emerged over the last few decades as a disease of global significance. Changes in levels of rainfall, humidity and temperature all influence the predominant strain of FHB, in addition to the quantity of the harmful mycotoxin produced by the fungus. These changes are likely to affect wheat production, processing and marketing. Mathematical models have shown that the risk of FHB epidemics and the number of crops containing potentially dangerous levels of mycotoxin will increase across the whole of the UK over the next few decades.

Dr Newton from the James Hutton Institute, Dundee (formerly the Scottish Crop Research Institute) explains the difficulties in predicting the likelihood of disease. "The communities of microbes on plants are complex and include harmless and beneficial organisms as well as those that cause disease on plants and humans. We need to understand the dynamics of complex microbial communities and their interactions to be able to predict the likelihood of disease."

Understanding these relationships is key to improving our crop production and protection in the face of climate change. "Climate change adds an extra layer of complexity to an already complex agro-ecological system. Higher temperatures, increasing levels of carbon dioxide, water limitation and quality may all affect existing plant microbes as well as favouring the appearance of new microbes. This may increase the incidence of some diseases and reduce the incidence of others," said Dr Newton.

Less reliance on pesticides is essential to ensure sustainable crops, according to Dr Newton. "Plant pathogens are becoming increasingly resistant to pesticides -- a problem that is likely to be made worse as their availability becomes reduced by legislation," he said. "One way to protect crops is to exploit their diversity. This increases resilience to pathogens and other stresses attributable to climate change. This means less pesticide use, reliable crop production and sustainable food production system."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Combating plant diseases is key for sustainable crops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411194819.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2011, April 13). Combating plant diseases is key for sustainable crops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411194819.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Combating plant diseases is key for sustainable crops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411194819.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
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