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Water, irrigation and plant diseases

Dixon, G. R. (2015) Water, irrigation and plant diseases. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 10 (009). pp. 1-18. ISSN 1749-8848

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1079/PAVSNNR201510009


Irrigation is a major husbandry tool, vital for world food production and security. The purpose of this review is twofold:- firstly drawing attention to the beneficial and deleterious aspects of irrigation resulting from interactions with the microbial world; secondly, forming a basis for encouraging further research and development. Irrigation is for example, a valuable component in the control of some soil borne pathogens such as Streptomyces scabies, the cause of potato common scab and Fusarium cubense, a cause of banana wilt. By contrast, applying irrigation encourages some foliar pathogens and factors such as splash dispersal of propagules and the retention of leaf wetness are important elements in the successful establishment of disease foci. Irrigation applied at low levels in the canopy directly towards the stem bases and root zones of plants also provides means encouraging disease development. Irrigation also offers means for the direct spread of microbes such as water borne moulds, Oomycetes, and plasmodial pathogens coming from populations present in the water supply. The presence of plant disease causing microbes in sources of irrigation has been associated with outbreaks of diseases such as clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae). Irrigation can be utilised as a means for applying agrochemicals, fungigation. The developing technologies of water restriction and root zone drying also have an impact on the success of disease causing organisms. This is an emerging technology and its interactions with benign and pathogenic microbes require consideration.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:42190
Uncontrolled Keywords:irrigation, plant disease, crop husbandry, environment, epidemiology, integrated crop managment, climate change
Publisher:CAB International

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