Impacts of changing air composition on severity of arable crop disease epidemics

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Fitt, B. D. L., Fraaije, B. A., Chandramohan, P. and Shaw, M. W. 2011. Impacts of changing air composition on severity of arable crop disease epidemics. Plant Pathology. 60 (1), pp. 44-53.

AuthorsFitt, B. D. L., Fraaije, B. A., Chandramohan, P. and Shaw, M. W.

This review assesses the impacts, both direct and indirect, of man-made changes to the composition of the air over a 200 year period on the severity of arable crop disease epidemics. The review focuses on two well-studied UK arable crops, wheat and oilseed rape, relating these examples to worldwide food security. In wheat, impacts of changes in concentrations of SO(2) in air on two septoria diseases are discussed using data obtained from historical crop samples and unpublished experimental work. Changes in SO(2) seem to alter septoria disease spectra both through direct effects on infection processes and through indirect effects on soil S status. Work on the oilseed rape diseases phoma stem canker and light leaf spot illustrates indirect impacts of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, mediated through climate change. It is projected that, by the 2050s, if diseases are not controlled, climate change will increase yields in Scotland but halve yields in southern England. These projections are discussed in relation to strategies for adaptation to environmental change. Since many strategies take 10-15 years to implement, it is important to take appropriate decisions soon. Furthermore, it is essential to make appropriate investment in collation of long-term data, modelling and experimental work to guide such decision-making by industry and government, as a contribution to worldwide food security.

KeywordsAgronomy; Plant Sciences
Year of Publication2011
JournalPlant Pathology
Journal citation60 (1), pp. 44-53
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as green open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Centre for Bioenergy and Climate Change ISPG)
Sustainable Arable LINK programme
Commonwealth Scholarships Commission
British Society for Plant Pathology
DEFRA - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs UK
Funder project or codeCentre for Biofuels and Climate Change (BCC)
Understanding interactions between climate change, arable crop growth and disease epidemics
Pre-breeding research to support climate change adaptation and reduction of environmental footprint of oilseed rape: OREGIN
Challenges from climate change on disease management in sustainable arable systems (CLIM-DIS)
Publisher's version

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