Sequencing the air to identify plant pathogens before they decimate crops

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia


Airborne crop pathogens pose a serious threat to food security and are responsible for devastating loss of yield. Early detection can enable farmers to take targeted action to reduce losses. In wheat, fungal
diseases alone are estimated to cause losses averaging 21% (>160 million tonnes), with three cereal rusts amongst the most damaging. Yellow rust, caused by P. striiformis, is a constant threat to UK wheat production. All current pathogen detection regimes for yellow rust rely on analysis post plant damage. However, in this project, we will deploy a state-of-the-art sequencing based diagnostic to detect and monitor yellow rust pathogens present within captured air samples. Crucially, we hope to be able to demonstrate the ability to distinguish different genotypes/pathotypes. Such an approach would allow much earlier, more targeted treatment regimes.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/T008717/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2028
2870487 Studentship BB/T008717/1 01/10/2023 30/09/2027