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Crops project receives funding

Posted 17 January 2012

The findings should help with our overall understanding of biofumigation and may provide a platform for a more extensive project."

Researchers at Harper Adams University College have been awarded funding to complete a project that looks at the plant disease club root.

The research, ‘conducting preliminary investigations on the effect of growing and incorporating biofumigant plants in soil infested with Plasmodiophora brassicae (club root)’, is sponsored by the Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network.

They have awarded Harper Adams £5,000 through the SPARK Award initiative, a series of fixed value grants paid to encourage collaboration between the research community and small firms.

Harper Adams is working with Plant Solutions Ltd, a supplier of several species of brassica seed, based in Surrey.

Lecturer in Plant Pathology & Nematology, Dr Matthew Back, said: “Biofumigation is a holistic crop protection method that is based on the incorporation of brassica residues, or seed meals, to improve soil fertility and reduce pests, weeds and diseases.

“Whilst there are many benefits to using biofumigant plants, there is concern that the incidence and severity of the disease club root could be increased as a direct result of their use”.

“This project would use a glasshouse-based experiment to measure the susceptibility of biofumigant plants to the symptoms of club root when grown in soil infested with P. brassicae”.

It is hoped that the research will help Plant Solutions to provide informed advice to their buyers and give evidence to support joint funding applications to the HGCA and BBSRC.

Dr Back, added: “We our delighted to be working with Plant Solutions on this project. The findings should help with our overall understanding of biofumigation and may provide a platform for a more extensive project”. 

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