Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Karnal bunt struggles to spread without large numbers

05.08.2002


Luckily for us, the economically devastating Karnal bunt fungus needs personal ads and singles bars more than we do.



Airborne spores from the fungus, which damages wheat crops, are limited in how well they can start new infections over long distances, according to the findings from a Kansas State University project.

A phenomenon known as the Allee effect occurs when a small population of a species spread over a large area has little success in reproduction. The reason is that when individuals are dispersed over a wide area, it becomes difficult to find a mate. Like male and female humans, each Karnal bunt spore has something similar to a gender, and must find a spore with a different gender to reproduce. Karnal bunt has a larger spore that can reproduce on its own, but is heavier and less likely to be blown over long distances. It is the bunt’s lighter, airborne spore that needs a mate.


Small populations of the Karnal bunt pathogen are therefore expected to decline, instead of grow.

"If there is an Allee effect, as there is with this fungus, it makes it harder for a population to get over that hump to be a viable population. It makes it harder for the Karnal bunt pathogen to invade," said Karen Garrett, assistant professor of plant pathology at K-State. "With this fungus, the population needs a critical mass to function well."

Garrett is working on the Allee research with Robert Bowden, U.S. Department of Agriculture research plant pathologist. The results of their work will be presented at the Ecological Society of America’s meeting in Tucson, Ariz., Aug. 4 to 9.

The research is good news for farmers in the U.S. Many countries have trade barriers against areas that are infested with Karnal bunt. Some regions in Arizona and Texas, where the pathogen has been found, cannot export wheat to those countries. Such a ban would be devastating in a state like Kansas, where wheat growers heavily depend on exports. Garrett said the results of the study may influence how trade officials in other countries regard the risk of Karnal bunt to their own wheat industry.

"That’s part of why there is so much interest in the invasive potential of this pathogen," Garrett said.

Karnal bunt has little effect on the amount of wheat that a crop can produce, but it does affect its quality. Wheat infected with Karnal bunt tends to have a fishy odor and may have an unpleasant taste.

Garrett and Bowden described the Allee effect for Karnal bunt after running mathematical models. Garrett noted that some aspects of the life cycle of the Karnal bunt pathogen are not well understood, so their results will need to be adjusted as new research becomes available.

"We’re making some assumptions to come up with particular risk estimates, but it is clear that this requirement to find another mating type will reduce the Karnal bunt pathogen’s potential as an invasive species," Garrett said.

Garrett and Bowden received funding for work with plant disease epidemics from the National Science Foundation and the Kansas State Agricultural Experiment Station. Their work will be published in the journal Phytopathology.

Karen Garrett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ksu.edu/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>