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Reference Number NF0421
Title Integrated control of fungal diseases in willows and poplars for bioenergy
Status Completed
Energy Categories RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES(Bio-Energy, Applications for heat and electricity) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields BIOLOGICAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (Biological Sciences) 50%;
BIOLOGICAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Rothamsted Research
Award Type Standard
Funding Source DEFRA
Start Date 01 April 2001
End Date 31 March 2005
Duration 48 months
Total Grant Value £547,075
Industrial Sectors No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Region East of England
Programme DEFRA Bioenergy
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Rothamsted Research (100.000%)
Web Site
Objectives 01. Pathogen behaviour: To evaluate the disease risks posed by the pathogen and to provide information for resistance breeding, mixture design and plantation disease management, by elucidating the pathogenicity of rusts on new and potential SRC clones, trends of evolution in aggressiveness, genetic relationships between pathotypes, sources of infection and overwintering in the rust pathogen (years 1-4). 02. Host resistance: To determine how rust resistance is inherited in important biomass w il lows and to characterise disease resistance on a wide range of willows, particularly those having the potential to be used in breeding, the newly bred elite willow clones and rust resistance in a wide range of SRC poplar clones (years 1-4). 03. Willow mixtures: To elucidate how mixtures affect the genetic structure and the spread of the pathogen and how the presence of different pathotypes affects disease severity on new elite biomass clones in order to provide information for designing o ptimu m mixtures (years 1-4). 04. Biological control: To determine whether, and to what extent, S. filum varies in its pathogenicity to different forms of willow rust, in what pattern S. filum occurs and spreads in plantation and whether S. filum can be sustained after harvest (years 1-4). 05. Integrated disease management: To provide practical disease management guidelines appropriate for use in commercial situations, to assist the development of clones with durable resistance to disease s andtoinf luence the most appropriate and long-lasting clonal mixture strategies (years 3 & 4)
Abstract The main objective of the proposed research is to provide underpinning science for the implementation of an integrated, non-chemical strategy of disease management in UK renewable energy crop production. As the European Union is legally bound to an 8% reduction of greenhouse gas emission by the year 2010, a large increase of energy from renewable sources is expected. Biomass is one of the most promising sources of renewable energy. It is expected that, in the near future, increasingly large scale energy crop plantations will be established to meet growing demand for energy from renewable sources (MAFF, 2000). Willows (Salix) are the main crop in short rotation coppice (SRC) plantations for renewable energy in the UK. Poplars (Populus) are also grown in trials to evaluate their potential as bioenergy crop. Fungal diseases, especially the rust caused by Melampsora, pose the most serious threat to energy plantations. Rust reduces biomass yields by as much as 40% and predisposes plants to attacks by secondary pathogens which often kill the plants. The real and potential threat of disease is likely to intensify as increasingly large-scale willow plantings are being established. Routine use of fungicide in SRC plantations is not considered to be a viable option to control disease for economic, practical and environmental reasons. As a low-input crop system, SRC production requires integrated use of host resistance and natural processes, instead of the routine useof fungicides. MAFF project NF0406 (1998-2001) has played a pivotal role in underpinning the science for integrated disease and pest management in SRC and has firmly established the UK’s leading status in the area of SRC plantation disease research. This project succeeds NF0406 and addresses the behaviour of fungal pathogens, genetics and sources of disease resistance in willows, mechanisms of the effects of mixtures on fungal diseases and effective deployment of biological control agents inSRC plantations. As the outcome, this research will afford a greater understanding of the behaviour of the main pathogens, how they interact with biomass willows and poplars, and how this knowledge can be best utilised to maintain healthy crops. It will give an unprecedented insight into disease risk to various biomass willows in UK plantations and examine how rust resistance is inherited in willows. It will be possible to assess the long-term prospects both for the use of host resistance andfor the deployment of willow mixtures. An additional environmentally friendly approach to disease control is the effective utilisation of a naturally occurring rust hyperparasite. The results will directly influence future approaches to select for durable resistance in newly bred willow clones for UK markets, to deploy host genotype to best long-term effect in mixed plantations and to utilise the naturally occurring hyperparasite to suppress disease.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 06/12/11