Kyran Maloney

PhD Title

Improved timing of curative blight fungicides for superior control of late blight and greater cost effectiveness.

PhD Supervisors

Summary

My project centres on the epidemiology and control of the infamous plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Late blight caused by P. infestans is widely regarded as the most serious disease impacting potato (Solanum tuberosum) cultivation, particularly in temperate regions, and fungicides are a vital component of its control.

All late blight fungicides are applied prophylactically, but many have curative activity. Control of late blight could be improved if applications of curative fungicides are correctly timed. The ultimate goal of this project is the construction and experimental verification of a decision support aid for the timing of applications of fungicides that have curative activity within an integrated control strategy.

The project aims to gather information on the rate of pathogen development shortly after infection, and to explore how this is influenced by key factors such as cultivar resistance, temperature profile and pervious fungicide application. Pre-symptomatic development of the pathogen will be quantified using qPCR. The project is funded by AHDB - Potato Council.

Prior to this project I obtained a BSc in Environmental Biology and an MSc in Ecology and the Environment, both from Lancaster University. I also have a PGCE and worked for a number of years as an FE lecturer, and I maintain an interest in education and science communication. My main research interests are plant pathology, epidemiology, sustainable agriculture and integrated control.

Publications

Wilson, K., Maloney, K., Zulu, D., Mutamba, E., and Vermeylen, S. (2013). Can the biofuel crop, Jatropha curcas, be used as a locally-grown botanical pesticide? In: Proceedings of The First International Conference on Pesticidal Plants, J. Ogendo, C.W. Lukhoba, P.K. Bett, and A.K. Machocho, eds. (Egerton University), pp. 124–127.