Investigating biotic and abiotic conditions impacting apple canker symptom development of nursery plants with latent infection

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Sch of Agriculture Policy and Dev


Current research indicates that nurseries are key sites for infection of apple plants by N. ditissima for young orchards. However, the infection is often cryptic, with infected plants showing no symptoms until after they are planted out into the field. Observations suggest symptom development differs from site to site, even with plants sourced from the same batch of nursery stock. What is currently unknown are the physical, environmental, and biological conditions which affect the development of the disease from these asymptomatic nursery plants. These parameters include soil (e.g. soil type, compaction), rainfall (e.g. water deficit, water logging, relative humidity), temperature, endophyte composition (e.g. competition from antagonistic internal microbes), and the addition of biological or organic amendments (e.g. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi, Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobia, Epicoccum nigrum, seaweed extracts). In addition, we are interested in the effect of pressure from other pathogens e.g. Phytophthora spp. on the development of apple canker symptoms. The results of this work will enable nurseries and growers to better manage apple plants both before and after field planting including the conditions in which to plant, water scheduling, and amendments to use on nursery stock to reduce incidence of the disease in the field. This proposal is closely aligned with an ongoing BBSRC LINK project (apple endophytes in relation to canker development) and thus expected to have synergy with the BBSRC project.
A multispectral image is one that captures image data within specific wavelength ranges across the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelengths may be separated by filters or by the use of instruments that are sensitive to particular wavelengths, including light from frequencies beyond the visible light range, i.e. infrared and ultra-violet. Spectral imaging can allow extraction of additional information the human eye fails to capture with its receptors for red, green and blue. Multispectral Imaging techniques could be developed to create earlier warning systems for the detection of canker in apple trees.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/W510749/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025
2621580 Studentship BB/W510749/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Hamish Sam McLean