Fungal pathogens pose great risk to crops

Research at the University of Exeter in the U.K. has a strong emphasis on understanding fungal plant disease and in developing new ways to protect crops. In an article published by Nature Food this spring, a consortium of world-leading Exeter-based fungal researchers, led by Professor Sarah Gurr and Dr. Helen Fones (UKRI Fellow), has merged their expertise to highlight the threat of fungal disease for food security.

Dr. Will Kay (co-author) with Prof. Sarah Gurr, establishing banana plants for the group’s work at Exeter on Panama disease

“Over the past centuries, crop diseases have led to the starvation of the people, the ruination of economies and the downfall of governments,” Professor Gurr says. “Today, the threat to plants of fungal infection outstrips that posed by bacterial and viral diseases combined. Indeed, fungal and oomycete diseases have been increasing in severity and … now pose a very serious threat to global food security.”

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