13 February 2016 | Online since 2003

Sussex fungicides may help fight ash dieback



28 January 2014 11:08:11|Forestry,News

Sussex fungicides may help fight ash dieback


A new fungicide treatment developed at the University of Sussex is emerging as a weapon in the fight to inhibit growth of Chalara fraxinea, which causes ash dieback, according to initial trials at The Sainsbury Laboratory.

AOX fungicides were created in the University of Sussex laboratory of Professor Tony Moore, and have recently been subjected to independent trials in the world-renowned Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich.

Fungal pathogens are adept at developing resistance to treatments by expressing an enzyme called the alternative oxidase (AOX). The novel compounds formulated by Professor Moore prevent this enzyme from being functional. If developed, these compounds may be effective for longer and need less frequent spraying.

The compounds were particularly effective when combined with a traditional fungicide that targets a different enzyme in the fungus. Professor Moore and his colleagues identified the current target using data made available by The Sainsbury Laboratory on infected tree samples. The data are available for other scientists to analyse on the crowdsourcing website OpenAshDieBack.

Professor Moore hopes that in the future, AOX fungicides could also be used to better protect cereal crops from pathogenic fungi. As well as protecting yields, they could lessen the environmental damage caused by multiple applications. The University of Sussex is currently working with the Sussex Innovation Centre to help bring the compounds to market, and is seeking commercial partners to develop AOX fungicides for a range of applications.

If developed further, the treatment could be used on infected nursery stock or ash plantations that are blighted by the ash dieback disease. It is more problematic to use fungicides in native woodland, where spraying is difficult and fungicides may affect beneficial fungi that help tree nutrition and healthy growth.

Ash dieback has spread rapidly throughout mainland Europe over the past two decades. The fungus was first reported in Britain in early 2012, and current estimates suggest that between 90-99 per cent of the country’s native ash trees could be killed by the disease.

Ian Carter, Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Sussex, said: “It’s extremely encouraging to see the successful trials of Professor Moore’s innovation that are coming out of The Sainsbury Laboratory. We’re delighted that research at Sussex is producing such promising results and helping to provide solutions to real global problems.”

Dr Diane Saunders, The Sainsbury Laboratory, said: “This first step in testing the new compounds, on the growth of fungus cultured in the laboratory, was promising. If developed, it could help nursery and plantation owners. It would be particularly useful for protecting trees that are susceptible to the pathogen when young, but which might be more tolerant to it when they are mature. Our own research is focused on both ash trees and the fungus, with the long term goal to develop a way to select and breed trees able to withstand the disease for generations to come.”

Download





0 Comment


Name

Please enter your name


Email

Comment

Please enter your comment


Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.


Comments

No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

World News

Greece | 12 February 2016
Government braces for farmers' descent on Athens

Hundreds of farmers from various parts of Greece are expected to descend on Athens on Friday to protest against planned increases to their tax and social security contributions but the government hope...


United Kingdom | 12 February 2016
Payments row Scottish government minister faces farmers

Scottish government rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead is expected to face tough questions about payments to farmers later. The minister is due to address the NFU Scotland annual general meet...


Canada | 12 February 2016
Cage-free eggs have drawbacks says farm animal welfare expert

The push for cage-free eggs by fast food companies is not necessarily the best option, according to a farm animal welfare expert at the Atlantic Veterinary College. Michael Cockram at UPEI's Sir J...


France | 12 February 2016
France's Hollande says to cut farmers' payroll taxes

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that the government would reduce payroll taxes to help struggling farmers. Prime Minister Manuel Valls "will announce before February 17 a new de...


New Zealand | 12 February 2016
Sheep farmers look for answers to slow the decline

Sheep farmers can't seem to catch a break at the moment. Pat Deavoll delves deep into why sheep numbers have declined. The message is clear; the demise of sheep farming in South Canterbury reflects...



Trending Now

Viewed
Discussed

Farms and Land for sale


Holiday Rentals search



Top stories you may have missed
Username
Password