My projects

  • Exploiting the immune system to tackle emerging filamentous diseases in tomato.

This project exploits the immune system of the tomato crop to enhance protection against emerging filamentous diseases. I will do this through priming the defence capacity of plants to prepare to respond faster and stronger against attackers. My project uses breakthrough methodology in quantitative disease phenomics that will allow me to perform large scale experiments. The ultimate goal of my project is to provide novel strategies that offer “one-step-ahead” solutions against the risks associated with devastating outbreaks of emerging diseases.

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  • The effect of priming agents in the protection of tomato harvest against grey mould.

Tomato is a major crop world-wide and like other crops, substantial crop yields are lost to diseases. Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) can cause the loss of over 50% of annual tomato crops. Novel technique development is essential to achieve a competent and eco-friendly tomato industry.  Different priming agents are effective in inducing resistance against B. cinerea in tomato plants. However, little is known about whether these priming agents protects fruit from B. cinerea during tomato post-harvest storage. This project studies whether treatment of tomato plants with priming agents result in a long-lasting induced resistance against grey mould in tomato fruit.

Tomatoes

  • Understanding plant defence strategies in the arms race against Fusarium oxysporum.

Fusarium oxysporum is a devastating soil-borne pathogen that provokes vascular wilt in over a hundred field and greenhouse-grown crops both in industrialized and developing countries. Current methods of control of F. oxysporum depend on the extensive use of chemical pesticides, which is increasingly regarded as unsustainable. This project exploits the tomato’s immune system to provide a powerful source for future Integrated Disease Management of vascular fusariosis.

Tomatoes and roots

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