PGRO (Processors andGrowers Research Organisation) is funding a PhD project at the University ofNottingham to investigate Aphanomyces euteiches, a plant pathogen responsiblefor yield loss in peas, as part of PGROs continuing commitment to promotingresearch into the pulse crop
The project will be based at the University ofNottinghams School of Biosciences with the objective of providing betterunderstanding of how the frequency of pea cropping influences the levels of thepathogen in the soil, explains Roger Vickers, PGRO Chief Executive.
In recent years Aphanomyces euteiches has beenincreasingly isolated from unhealthy – and also apparently healthy – pea rootsin the UK. It is a soil dwelling oomycete plant pathogen with a wide host range,and peas are very susceptible. It is responsible for the disease Aphanomyces root rotwith symptoms that generally include reduced root volume and function, leading tostunting and chlorotic foliage.
It is believed that infection can go unnoticed inthe crop with the potential to cause yield decline. The pathogen builds up inthe crop until obvious symptoms are seen and dramatic crop loss occurs. Indeed,in certain areas it threatens the very viability of the crop – especially invining peas.
A positive outcome to the project could ultimatelylead to practical adoption of techniques and cropping technologies that couldsecure the rotation and crop viability. Also one hoped-for benefit of theproject is the development of a rapid test for a quantified assessment of thelevels of soil borne inoculum. This will significantly influence the managementof and potential yield loss risk to a pea crop on any defined field.
The PhD student will have the opportunity to workwithin a crop sector which is very dynamic and with growers who are keen toimplement the results of the study. They will also be one of a very smallnumber of researchers working on this problem with the excitement andchallenges that this brings, says Mr Vickers.