Instead of focusing on the large-scale, ecological impact of this problem, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and the University of Liege in Belgium are studying the phenomenon from a novel perspective: that of a single rain droplet.
“One may easily picture that a raindrop impacting a contaminated leaf grabs some of the pathogens there before being ejected and flying towards some healthy plant in the neighborhood,” says University of Liege assistant professor of engineering Tristan Gilet, who will present the team’s research at the upcoming meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) in Baltimore, Md., along with MIT colleagues Lydia Bourouiba, a postdoctoral associate, and John Bush, professor of applied mathematics. But a more plausible scenario, Gilet continues, is that bacteria, viruses, and fungi dissolve into rainwater sitting on the surface of a leaf, and that this disease-carrying rainwater is then pushed off the leaf by other raindrops.
Using a high-speed camera to film artificial rainfall on a series of plants, the team identified two patterns of droplet ejection. The first is direct: a raindrop hits pathogen-infested water on a leaf and splashes some of it off. The second is indirect: a raindrop hits the leaf, whose violent movement ejects some of the disease-carrying water that had been sitting on it. From their modeling and experiments, the team concludes that the direct splashing method is a more efficient disease spreader for relatively large and rigid leaves, while smaller and more pliant leaves are more likely to be affected by the indirect method.
The cost of plant diseases is estimated at three billion dollars a year in the United States alone, the researchers write. They say they hope their work will provide some guidance for farmers, by providing suggestions for the optimal spacing between plants, for example.
The talk, “Foliar disease transmission: insights from fluid dynamics,” is at 3:35 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21, in Room 309.
Charles Blue | Newswise Science News
New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions
18.12.2018 | Eindhoven University of Technology
NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate
18.12.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy