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Crop and Soil Systems
I am in the first few months of my PhD project which aims to develop fungicide resistance management strategies in minor UK crops. Fungicide resistance is widespread in many plant pathogens but despite fungicides being a necessity for most farmers, they exert a high selection pressure on pathogenic fungi populations. This pressure results in persisting mutations that confer fungicide resistance. Resistance poses a threat to all crop systems, especially as there are limited fungicides available.
Minor crops, do not receive the research attention they require to prevent and manage resistance, such as screening for mutant populations, which gives room for rapid resistance development. My project will use Botrytis Cinerea as a model pathogenic fungus to understand the current UK resistance situation. More specifically, I am aiming to understand the molecular methods underlying resistance development to quinone outside inhibitor (QoI) and succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) fungicides in B. cinerea.
B. cinerea was chosen for this project as it is a ubiquitous fungal pathogen which causes grey mould disease on many crop species. It was ranked second place for scientific and economic importance, largely due to its wide range of plant hosts and the extensive crop damage it causes.
At present I am developing rapid molecular tests which will be used to investigate the current resistance situation of B. cinerea in soft fruit farms around the UK. The knowledge obtained from these tests will be used to develop and evaluate strategies when applying fungicides in the field.
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow before starting my PhD, where I studied Molecular and Cellular Biology (with Plant Science).
Prof Fiona Burnett (SRUC)Dr Neil Havis (SRUC)Dr Steven Spoel (The University of Edinburgh, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences)
Address: Crop & Soil Systems, Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JG