New research links crop disease and climate change

Feb 28, 2012

Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire have investigated links between crop disease and climate change which impact our food growth and production - affecting our food security today and for future generations. The team of researchers led by Professor Bruce Fitt, at the University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with Professor Jon West at Rothamsted Research and Dr. Rob Carlton of Carlton Consultancy, describe their investigations in two papers to be published in a special edition of European Journal of Plant Pathology.

“Currently, there is considerable debate about climate change adaptation and mitigation in relation to controlling crop disease, while also maintaining sufficient food production,” said Professor Fitt, a leading authority on plant pathology. “Government policy and the agricultural industry need to prepare for the impacts of climate change particularly where food production is likely to be adversely affected. Strategies for adaptation to climate change are needed to maintain good disease control and crop yields while at the same time decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The research team used a novel approach of comparing pathogen biology to review environmental factors that influence the severity of crop disease epidemics. This assessed the effects of climate change on crop diseases and, ultimately, the crop yield. The team also found that good crop disease control contributed to mitigation by decreasing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

In further research on control, the team compared greenhouse gas emissions and crop production associated with selected arable systems. Results showed that conventional crop production, combined with reduced tillage cultivation, is generally the best for producing high crop yields. This contributes to global and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

Explore further: Call for alternative identification methods for endangered species

More information: The full research papers can be viewed online at the European Journal of Plant Pathology at bit.ly/wKKJbW

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Combating plant diseases is key for sustainable crops

Apr 12, 2011

Climate change is likely to make plants more vulnerable to infectious disease, which will threaten crop yield and impact on the price and availability of food. Dr Adrian Newton, presenting his work at the ...

High yield crops keep carbon emissions low

Jun 14, 2010

The Green Revolution of the late 20th century increased crop yields worldwide and helped feed an expanding global population. According to a new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it als ...

Switchgrass as bioenergy feedstock

Dec 09, 2011

Scientists examined current knowledge about the potential contributions of bioenergy production from switchgrass to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Their findings, published in GCB Bioenergy, conclude that the use of swi ...

Recommended for you

India's ancient mammals survived multiple pressures

14 hours ago

Most of the mammals that lived in India 200,000 years ago still roam the subcontinent today, in spite of two ice ages, a volcanic super-eruption and the arrival of people, a study reveals.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...