Fighting plant disease at warm temperatures keeps food on the table [VIDEO]
- Nov 27, 2017
- Fundamental Research
- Igor Houwat, Bethany Huot
Plant disease is one of the most important causes of crop loss worldwide, and pathogenic bacteria and unfavorable climate are two major culprits.
Sometimes, climate and bacteria come together, with devastating consequences.
One of the best historical examples of this is the Irish Potato Famine. Beginning in 1845, Ireland experienced the “perfect storm” of unusually cool, damp weather that provided prime growing conditions for an exotic pathogen that destroyed the potato crop. With their primary food source ravaged by disease, a million Irish people died from the ensuing famine.
On the other end of the thermometer, warmer temperatures also can cause extensive crop loss.
Can plants defend and grow simultaneously? The answer could help us understand natural ecosystems or help farmers increase yields without increasing dependence on pesticides.
The award recognizes the best doctoral dissertation in the plant sciences at MSU from the previous two years.
The He lab has completed an unprecedented study of over 1000 plant varieties to tease out their major defense systems against bacteria.
Bethany Huot, a PhD student at the PRL, realized that science is best done in supportive and active communities. So she created The Pub Club, a successful student-driven collective.