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Understanding the environmental factors that influence the efficiacy of biological control agents to control potato late blight (Phyophthora infestans)

Main subject area: Plant-microbe interactions, biopesticide, biological control

Short project description

Late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, is a global potato disease. Fungicides are primarily used for control, but their extensive use raises sustainability concerns. Policies like the EU directive 2009/128/EC promote sustainable fungicide use and integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. The European Farm2Fork strategy aims to halve pesticide use and risk by 2030, increasing demand for eco-friendly crop protection. Overuse of fungicides can lead to the selection of insensitive pathogen strains, as seen with Pi populations insensitive to Mandipropamid. Given these challenges and emerging pesticide usage regulations, alternative, environmentally friendly pest management solutions are needed. Biological control agents (BCAs), microorganisms with antagonistic traits, can be used to control plant diseases and reduce fungicide reliance. BCAs, including species of Bacillus, Pseudomonas, and Trichoderma, have been used successfully in controlled environments, but their field efficacy is poor due to a lack of understanding of the factors influencing their effectiveness. This project will investigate how temperature, humidity, and UV radiation affect selected BCAs through in vitro and whole-plant assays in greenhouses and climate chambers.

Department and supervisor

Isaac Kwesi Abuley

Tenure Track assistant professor

Project start

No specific time

Physical location of project and students work

AU Flakkebjerg (Forsøgsvej 1, 4200, Slagelse)

Extent and type of project

45 or 60 ECTS: Experimental thesis in which the student is responsible for collection and analysis their own original data.