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article imageHelping crops avoid plant pathogens

By Tim Sandle     Jun 14, 2014 in Environment
Helsinki - A study has found that ribwort plants in well-connected populations fare better when exposed to a fungal pathogen than those in isolated patches. This finding could help restrict outbreaks caused by plant pathogens.
To arrive at this finding, researchers undertook a 12-year study on the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea. Here botanists surveyed more than 4,000 populations of the herb ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) for the presence of a fungal pathogen, Podosphaera plantaginis, which causes powdery mildew, a widespread plant disease. According to Wired, the scientists found that isolated, fragmented ribwort populations were more frequently infected with powdery mildew than were well-connected ribwort populations.
The study concludes that continuous patches of natural habitat could help restrict outbreaks caused by plant pathogens by increasing disease resistance.
The results of the research have been published in the journal Science, in a paper titled "Ecological and evolutionary effects of fragmentation on infectious disease dynamics".
More about Crops, Pathogens, Fungi, Grass, ribwort
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