Organic farmers get a helping hand

There is an urgent need for devising new methods of preventing attacks of yellow rust fungus in cereals. A new project tackles the problem from several angles in close cooperation with the agricultural industry.

Organic crop production had some nasty surprises in 2009 and 2010 where organic cereals were attacked by yellow rust. In 2009 alone these attacks cost the industry around 50 million kroner in losses.

So what exactly happened? To document this, the scientists will study the interaction between the yellow rust fungus, plant resistance and environment. One hypothesis is that plant resistance can be circumvented under certain environmental conditions. This means that there is a window of opportunity for the fungus to infect where the plant is susceptible. The question is – what are these conditions? Another hypothesis is that there has been a mutation in the yellow rust fungus to a hitherto unknown resistance in the plant.


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