ClosedAgriculture & Agri-food

Multi-pathogen, multi-crop disease forecasting network for Alberta

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Syama Chatterton (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Lethbridge Research and Development Centre)
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Alberta - Alberta Applied Agriculture Genomics Program (A3GP)
PROJECT START DATE January 1, 2019
PROJECT END DATE December 31, 2021

Many economically important plant pathogens are airborne, and a growing area of research involves detecting and quantifying these pathogenic organisms in order to facilitate the study of pathogen/disease etiology and epidemiology, and to develop disease forecasting models. The goal of this project was to compare the performance of microscopy and molecular methods including Next Generation Sequencing technologies in determining airborne microbial diversity in agricultural fields across Alberta. These new technologies could facilitate screening for many existing, emerging, or novel airborne pathogens and permit their monitoring across Alberta, acting as the basis for plant disease forecasting models that can revolutionize the agricultural industry. The quantification of aerial biodiversity provides a baseline that can be used to determine factors involved in plant disease outbreak and optimized treatment strategies. Additionally, further analysis of this dataset can offer insights into the ideal aerial compositions for increased crop quality. The methods employed can also detect beneficial fungi, which may be important in the management of diseases and increased plant yield.

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