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Crop Centre in Print

Please find the latest journal publications from the Crop Centre listed below.

Read our articles in the Vegetable Farmer

For a full list of publications from the School of Life Sciences please visit the Latest Journal Publications

The Potential for Decision Support Tools to Improve the Management of Root-Feeding Fly Pests of Vegetables in Western Europe

Insects logoRosemary Collier, Dominique Mazzi,Annette Folkedal Schjøll, Quentin Schorpp,Gunda Thöming , Tor J. Johansen , Richard Meadow , Nicolai V. Meyling, Anne-Marie Cortesero, Ute Vogler, Michael T. Gaffney and Martin Hommes

Several important vegetable crops grown outdoors in temperate climates in Europe can be damaged by the root-feeding larvae of Diptera (Delia radicum, Delia floralis, Chamaepsila rosae, Delia platura, Delia florilega, Delia antiqua). Knowledge of pest insect phenology is a key component of any Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy, and this review considers the methods used to monitor and forecast the occurrence of root-feeding flies as a basis for decision-making by growers and the ways that such information can be applied. It has highlighted some current management approaches where such information is very useful for decision support, for example, the management of C. rosae with insecticidal sprays and the management of all of these pests using crop covers. There are other approaches, particularly those that need to be applied at sowing or transplanting, where knowledge of pest phenology and abundance is less necessary. Going forward, it is likely that the number of insecticidal control options available to European vegetable growers will diminish and they will need to move from a strategy which often involves using a single ‘silver bullet’ to a combination of approaches/tools with partial effects (applied within an IPM framework). For the less-effective, combined methods, accurate information about pest phenology and abundance and reliable decision support are likely to be extremely important.

Full article Insects 2020, 11(6), 369;

Wed 17 Jun 2020, 08:26

A standardised bioassay method using a bench‐top spray tower to evaluate entomopathogenic fungi for control of the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum

 Pest Management Science feb20Eleanor L Spence, David Chandler, Steve Edgington, Shaun D Berry, Gareth Martin, Christine O’Sullivan, Claus Svendsen, Helen Hesketh

Bioassays evaluating entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) isolates for effective microbial control of whitefly are a fundamental part of the screening process for bioprotectants, but development of repeatable, robust bioassays is not straightforward. Currently, there is no readily available standardised method to test the efficacy of EPF on whitefly. Here, we describe the calibration and use of a spray tower to deliver a standardised protocol to assess EPF activity. Combining the calibrated sprayer and bioassay method provides a reliable, standardised approach to test the virulence of EPF against whitefly nymphs. This laboratory-based assay is affordable, replicable and allows the user to alter the dose of conidia applied to the target.

Pest Management Science. February 2020

Thu 23 Apr 2020, 07:28

Phenology of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) in the UK and provision of decision support for Brassica growers

Insects. Feb20Wainwright C, Jenkins S, Wilson D, Elliott M, Jukes A, Collier R

In the UK, severe infestations by Plutella xylostella occur sporadically and are due mainly to the immigration of moths. The aim of this study was to develop a more detailed understanding of the phenology of P. xylostella in the UK and investigate methods of monitoring moth activity, with the aim of providing warnings to growers. The summarised sightings by citizen scientists on a web page were accessed regularly by growers and, at present, this approach appears to be the most effective way of providing timely warnings.

Insects. February 2020

Mon 06 Apr 2020, 08:35

IGS region polymorphisms are responsible for failure of commonly used species-specific primers in Fusarium proliferatum isolates from diseased garlic

Plant Pathology feb20Laura Gálvez, John P. Clarkson and Daniel Palmero

Fusarium proliferatum is a globally distributed fungal pathogen that affects a range of crop hosts and is one of the main producers of mycotoxins in foods such as fumonisins. Specific PCR primers are commonly used for detection and identification of this pathogen. The aim of this study was to validate previously published F. proliferatum‐specific primers targeting the IGS region and characterise intraspecific variation and homologous recombination events for isolates obtained from diseased garlic bulbs in Spain. Our results suggest that the IGS region may be too variable as a reliable target for F. proliferatum‐specific identification.

Plant Pathology. February 2020

Thu 19 Mar 2020, 12:56

Genomics Evolutionary History and Diagnostics of the Alternaria alternata Species Group Including Apple and Asian Pear Pathotypes

 Frontiers in MicrobiologyAndrew D Armitage, Helen M Cockerton, Surapareddy Sreenivasaprasad, James Woodhall, Charles R Lane, Richard J Harrison and John P Clarkson 

The Alternaria section alternaria (Alternaria alternata species group) represents a diverse group of saprotroph, human allergens, and plant pathogens. Alternaria taxonomy has benefited from recent phylogenetic revision but the basis of differentiation between major phylogenetic clades within the group is not yet understood. Furthermore, genomic resources have been limited for the study of host-specific pathotypes. We report near complete genomes of the apple and Asian pear pathotypes as well as draft assemblies for a further 10 isolates representing Alternaria tenuissima and Alternaria arborescens lineages. Our findings allow identification and differentiation of apple, pear, and strawberry pathotypes, providing new tools for pathogen diagnostics.

Frontiers in Microbiology. January 2020

Mon 24 Feb 2020, 12:54

Basal Rot of Narcissus: Understanding Pathogenicity in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. narcissi


Frontiers in MicrobiologyAndrew Taylor, Andrew D Armitage, Claire Handy, Alison C Jackson, Michelle T Hulin, Richard J Harrison and John P Clarkson

Fusarium oxysporum is a globally distributed soilborne fungal pathogen causing root rots, bulb rots, crown rots and vascular wilts on a range of horticultural plants. Pathogenic F. oxysporum isolates are highly host specific and are classified as formae speciales. Narcissus is an important ornamental crop and both the quality and yield of flowers and bulbs can be severely affected by a basal rot caused by F. oxysporum f. sp. narcissi (FON). This is the first study to characterise molecular variation in FON and provide an analysis of the FON genome. Identification of expressed genes potentially associated with virulence provides the basis for future functional studies and new targets for molecular diagnostics.

Frontiers in Microbiology. Dec 2019

Mon 27 Jan 2020, 15:07

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