announcements from all on any aspect of Plant Pathology are invited for the Newsletter. Contributions from the ISPP Executive,
Council and Subject Matter Committees, Associated Societies and
Supporting Organisations are requested.
Councillors Voting about Holding the International Congress of Plant Pathology
Bids have come from The Singapore Plant Protection Society and The American
Phytopathology Society expressing interest in holding the 11th International
Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP2018) in the year 2018. They were received by
the due date of 31 October 2011.
The ISPP Secretary-General, Greg Johnson, and the ISPP Business Manager, Peter
Williamson, have advised ISPP Councillors about the details of the bids and
asked them to send in votes about their selection of host country.
deadline for first round voting is 31 January 2012.
Plant Science Research in the USA and the UK
Encouraging steps for the further development of the plant sciences have been
taken almost simultaneously in the two countries. It may be coincidental that
they come near the time that a stimulating letter was published by a UK group
emphasizing the great importance of plant science for the future of the world as
reported in the ISPP Newsletter of October 2011.
Clearly leaders in tertiary education and research and development are reacting
to similar concerns and responding in
In the USA, the four largest nonprofit plant science research institutions have
joined forces to form the
Association of Independent Plant Research Institutes
(AIPI). The purpose is to target plant science research to meet the profound
challenges facing society in a more coordinated and rapid fashion. The Boyce
Thompson Institute for Plant Research, the Carnegie Institution for Science, the
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
formed the AIPI to facilitate scientific discovery through intellectual and
technical collaborations. The group will also disseminate research outcomes and
provide a forum for discussion of approaches to the challenges facing
agriculture. AIPI will have initial research objectives in
three core areas of plant science research: The development of plants as sources
of renewable energy; the improvement of plants’ abilities to provide an
unparalleled range of “ecosystem services” to the planet; the continued
development of sustainable agriculture practices.
the UK, a new unified body has been set up by the Society of Biology and it is
the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF) which was launched on Wednesday 23
November 2011 in London. The purpose is to bring an inclusive and comprehensive
dialogue across the plant and crop science community, in awareness of the
urgency to answer the challenges of global issues such as food security and
climate change. See
the online home of the UK Plant Sciences Federation,
which aims to provide one voice for all those involved in Plant Science research
and development, education and training.
The Society of Biology welcomes plant science
groups from across the sector to join the Federation with the aim to bring
together basic and applied research, outreach, industry and education.
Human Pathogens on Plants
A workshop to be held in Maryland, USA, in February 2012 is designed to bring
together members of the food science and plant pathology communities to share
and highlight ongoing research, develop collaborations, and plan a national
research agenda for the future to address complex questions related to the
contamination of plants with human pathogens. See “Coming Events” and
the workshop site.
Those involved in research related to plant-pathogen interactions may have an
interest in this meeting. A strong recommendation to attend goes to plant
pathologists, food safety professionals, food technologists, and others
interested in the relationships between plant, animal or human pathogens and
workshop has at present a preliminary schedule but is likely to start with
presentations on Policy Issues and the Perspectives of Industry, Plant Pathology
and Food Science. There have been many major problems in the subject in
different parts of the world, the least forgettable being in Germany in early
2011 as covered in the ISPP Newsletter of July
and aspects of this are likely to be opened for discussion at the workshop.
New Molecular And Physiological Plant Pathology Group
Plant pathology is an applied discipline, rooted in agronomy, microscopy and
microbiology but increasingly dominated by biochemistry, cell biology, molecular
biology, genetics and genomics. Research using these techniques is expanding
exponentially. To reflect this trend, the Australasian Plant Pathology Society
(APPS) has formed a new special interest group in molecular and physiological
plant pathology; the MPPP special interest group.
The goal of the group is to highlight and promote research using these
disciplines and to form a bridge with scientists in plant, animal and microbial
biology who develop, use and apply these techniques. The scope of the group is
broad; it includes studies of fungal, oomycete, bacterial, viral and nematode
plant pathogens and of host plant resistance that use the approaches and
techniques of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics and
genomics. It includes studies of pesticide targets, mode of action and
resistance. It highlights research done in laboratories and greenhouses.
Richard Oliver (Chair), Professor of Agriculture, Curtin University (e-mail
0414305999); Research interests in necrotrophic pathogens of crops and in
Klaus Oldach (Local Organiser for COMBIO 2012, Adelaide) (e-mail
Molecular genetics of biotic stress resistance in crop plants, e.g. barley and
Angela van der Wouw (e-mail
Resistance and virulence in pathogens of canola.
Donald Gardiner (e-mail
Fusarium pathogens of cereals.
COMBIO 2012; Adelaide
The initial focus of the new group is to organise a conference within COMBIO in
Adelaide in 2101. COMBIO is the annual combined meeting of the major biological
learned societies in Australia. Core members are the ASBMB (Australian Society
for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), the ASPS (Australian Society of Plant
Scientists) and ANZSCDB (Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and
Developmental Biology. COMBIO in 2012 will be held in the Adelaide Convention
Centre, 23-27 September, 2012. The total attendance is expected to be about
1000. We hope to attract about 200 MPPP-related researchers. See “Coming
By combining their resources, the societies within COMBIO are able to invite a
large number of outstanding international speakers to attend and give plenary
talks. Each of six COMBIO discipline streams invites 4 or 5 plenary speakers.
After the plenary talks, each day of the meeting will have up to six concurrent
symposia in the morning and six in the afternoon. Each symposium has an
international lead speaker and 4 to 5 other speakers. There are therefore about
350 talks to interest the visitor. The meeting also has an excellent trade
exhibition and enough poster space for all visitors to present their work. The
new MPPP group is joining with the ASPS to organise a plant-related stream.
Plant related plenary invitees
Dale Sanders FRS– new Director of the John Innes Centre, UK; his research area
is membrane transport and signal transduction.
Debra Mohnen – Director of the Complex Research Center, University of Georgia,
USA; research on modifications of cell walls for biomass production and the
biosynthesis of pectin.
Susan McCouch – Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University, USA; focuses on
rice genomics as utilised for breeding enhanced performance.
Peter Reich – Forest ecology and tree physiology at Cornell University; research
on the impacts of global environmental change on terrestrial ecosystems
Anne Osbourn – John Innes Centre, UK; investigating the molecular basis of
interactions between plants and other organisms, with particular emphasis on
natural products and plant defence. Anne is the MPPP-nominated plenary speaker.
The MPPP symposia
MPPP group plans to organise two symposia. One is focussed on molecular
pathology. The invited lead speaker is Corby Kistler, a leading researcher on
Fusarium wilt diseases. The other symposium is focussed on fungicide
sustainability. Two speakers have been invited. Andy Leadbeater (Syngenta,
Switzerland) will speak on the future threats to fungicide use worldwide. The
second speaker is Frank van den Bosch (Rothamsted Research, UK) a modeller with
research interests in resistance management.
Activation of Signalling for Plant Immunity
A short review has been published describing findings which
provide new understanding of the activation of signalling for plant immunity. It
Bernoux, Ellis and Dodds (2011). New insights in plant immunity signaling
activation. Current Opinion in Plant
Biology14 (5) 512-518.
Resistance is now known to be triggered by recognition of microbial effectors by
nucleotide binding-leucine rich repeat (NB-LRR) receptors. Progress has been
made in understanding effector and NB-LRR function, but many questions remain
about how perception of an effector activates NB-LRR induction of signalling
towards the expression of defence.
The review covers new findings showing similarities and differences in function
of diverse plant NB-LRR proteins in terms of pathogen recognition and where and
how resistance proteins are activated.
On October 12 2011,
released a new book on the life of Norman Borlaug. It comes in hardback form and
has 284 pages and thus is distinctly different from the previous biography which
came in three volumes of 822 pages in total as stated in the ISPP Newsletters
Contact Noel Vietmeyer at 5921 River Drive, Lorton, VA 22079, USA, or by
Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Prize for Peace, the Presidential Medal of
Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal and he thus ranks beside Martin Luther
King Junior, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. Few people however know his name.
The new book shows why Borlaug should be a household name as one who saved
billions from hunger, and how much of the world got its daily bread.
new biography covers the same ground as the three paperbacks but has a different
style, a different text, new information and some new photos. Unchanged parts
are the quotations from the great man. The new book uplifts the human drama but
also elevates the technical issues, such as those in wheat breeding, with its
finer points. The author hopes that it will break the Norman Borlaug story out
into public consciousness, and thereby instil widely the importance of
agricultural research. The hope is that the new book will attract many people
who have never read a book on agriculture thus bringing the public into the fold
as something good for everyone, especially agricultural scientists. The story
shows that Norman Borlaug overcame a hundred personal challenges, rescued three
countries from terminal hunger, and offset a possibility of planetary
European Foundation for Plant Pathology
There are two items to note. One is a major update of the web-site for the
European Foundation for Plant Pathology (EFPP) at
other is the announcement of the 10th Conference of the Foundation (EFPP) with
the title “IPM2.0 Towards future-proof crop protection in Europe”. This will be
held in Wageningen, The Netherlands, in October 2012. It is being organized by
the Royal Netherlands Society for Plant Pathology (KNPV).
Wageningen is theDutch innovation
centre on Life Sciences, hosting Wageningen University and Research Center.
“Coming Events” and
the Conference web-page. The
program of “IPM2.0” includes a day trip to Floriade 2012,
the World Horticultural Expo in Venlo, The Netherlands, thus providing an
exciting view of state-of-the-art
agricultural production. The central theme of the
conference is what research can offer towards compliance with the ambitious aims
of the National Action Plans that each member state of the EU has to adopt in
the framework of the new EU regulation on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). It
is a multidisciplinary conference bringing all stakeholders to the stage and
enabling a broad evaluation of existing and required technologies and their
implementation for disease management in a broad variety of agronomical
the December 2011 issue of “Food Security”
Among the papers coming up for the December 2011 issue of “Food Security”
3 (4) are several of potential wide interest to ISPP readers. These
“Reduction of the incidence of postharvest quality losses,
and future prospects” by
The summary concludes that it is important to harvest fruits,
vegetables and flowers at the proper stage and size and at peak quality.
Pre-harvest production practices and factors such as cultivation, water,
soil-type, temperature and mechanical damage may seriously affect post-harvest
quality and result in the rejection or downgrading of produce at the point of
sale. After harvest, improper temperature and humidity management as well as
packaging and handling may have adverse effects on storage life and quality.
Integration of treatment methods calls for specific differential combinations of
treatments for each product in each country.
A review by
John Bryant of
a book entitled “Agriculture: Africa’s ‘engine for growth’—Plant science and
biotechnology hold the key”, and edited by Toby Bruce, Christine Foyer, Nigel
Halford, Alfred Keys, Karl Kunert, David Lawlor, Martin Parry and Graham
Russell. The reviewconcludes that the
subject of the book must be set in a wider context that will require stamina and
commitment if the aims to bring Africans out of poverty are to be achieved.
Those aims are clearly apparent in the book, which provides both facts and
A review by
Suresh C Babu of
a book entitled “Revitalizing higher agricultural education in India: journey
towards excellence, Asian Agri-History Foundation, Secunderabad, India 500009”
by Prabhakar Tamboli and Y L Nene.
“The critical role of phosphorus in world
production of cereal grains and legume seeds” by
John N A Lott, Jurek Kolasa,
Graeme D Batten and Lindsay C Campbell.
The summaryconcludes that attention is drawn to the urgent
need to utilize world P reserves more wisely so as to delay the impact of
dwindling amounts of P and increasing costs of P on world food security.
Agriculturalists are strongly urged to pursue more P-efficient crop genotypes
and land management which reduces losses of P from agricultural ecosystems.
Support is given to the engineering of P-recycling schemes which convert the
current P-loss system nearer to a closed P-cycle system. Unless these avenues
are developed in the immediate future there are likely to be severe consequences
for food security in the longer term.
Symbioses between Plants and Microbes
A special issue of the journal “Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions” is devoted
to plant-microbe symbioses in November 2011. Great advances have been made
during the last twenty years in understanding the basic principles underlying
two types of symbiosis of plants with beneficial microorganisms. These involve
1) the nitrogen-fixing nodule bacteria of legumes in angiosperms and 2) the
phosphate-acquiring mycorrhizal fungi. The special issue gathers articles
covering aspects of evolution and phylogeny, diversity, signalling,
differentiation, and development of new investigative tools.
of the research papers has been selected as the journal editor’s pick and this
is by Katia Bonaldi and associates and is about “Nodulation of
Aeschynomene afraspera and
A. indica by Photosynthetic
Bradyrhizobium sp. Strain ORS285: The
Nod-Dependent Versus the Nod-Independent Symbiotic Interaction”. Click here for details.
Salts of Phosphorous Acid and Managing Bacterial Wilt in Tomato
Phosphorous acid is well known for its ability to minimise diseases caused by
Phytophthora spp, but it has recently been reported as effective
against some bacterial diseases. Now a helpful recipe for making up solutions of
its salts by small-holder farmers has been described for the control of
bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia
solanacearum. This is a destructive soil-borne pathogen that limits tomato
production in the tropics and subtropics. The pathogen can be readily spread by
a number of simple means and, once introduced, it is difficult to eradicate.
do-it-yourself protocol for making-up and using phosphorous acid for inclusion
in integrated packages to manage tomato bacterial wilt is given in a “Technical
Innovation Brief number 13” published by the SP-IPM Secretariat at www.spipm.cgiar.org.
Pyricularia angulata and
Banana Blast Disease
In the intensive area of banana production on the wet tropical coast of northern
Queensland, conditions are conducive for the development of fungal diseases.
Obtaining banana plants free of disease can be achieved by tissue-culturing
plantlets. These plantlets are then raised in plastic- covered plant houses
under overhead irrigation. The consequent poorly ventilated and damp environment
encourages fungal diseases, amongst which were severe leaf-spotting conditions
sometimes leading to death of plants. In September 2010, banana blast symptoms
were found on leaves of such tissue-cultured plantlets of cultivar Dwarf
A fungus was isolated and identified as
Pyricularia angulata, based on symptoms, fungal morphology and ITS
sequencing. Inoculated plants developed typical symptoms of banana blast within
5 days and P. angulata was re-isolated
thereby fulfilling Koch’s postulates. An earlier specimen isolated from
Musa sp and lodged in 1986 by others
in the state herbarium was examined and found to be morphologically identical to
These results and reasons for distinguishing the pathogen from
P. Grisea found earlier by others to be responsible for a pitting
disease in bananas in Australia and Central America are given in a recent paper.
This is “Elucidation of the taxonomy and pathological status of
Pyricularia associated with banana
blast in Australia” published on-line on 24 May 2011 as Mike F Male, Yu Pei Tan,
Lynton L Vawdrey and Roger G Shivas (2011)
Australasian Plant Disease Notes DOI 10.1007/s13314-011-0008-8.
Agreement among Himalayan Nations to Collaborate on Climate
India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan met recently at the Climate Summit for a
Living Himalayas in Thimphu, Bhutan. These four of the seven countries bordering
the Himalayas have agreed to work together to deal with the harmful effects that
climate change is expected to bring to the region. They agreed to work together
on issues including food and water security. Each country relies on melt water
from Himalayan glaciers. Recent projections suggest flow into the Indus River,
supporting the world's largest irrigation system, will decline markedly by 2050.
Other rivers in the region will see even greater declines.
A Framework of Co-operation was formulated with the aim to implement regional
co-operative actions to build resilience to climate change in the southern
watersheds of the eastern Himalayas. It is directed to 1) Ensuring energy
security and enhancing alternative technologies; 2) Securing the natural
freshwater systems of the Himalayas; 3) Ensuring food security and securing
livelihoods; 4) Securing biodiversity and ensuring its sustainable use. A
mechanism to implement the Framework of Co-operation was also agreed to.
Summit was attended by diplomatic missions within Bhutan and by international
observers. Himalayan countries have rarely worked together, but their
cooperation could be the best way to tackle climate change. To have a lasting
impact, the group should come to include China, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
and Energy Security
The Association of Applied Biologists will soon be launching a new international
journal “Food and Energy Security”. It will be an on-line only, open access and
peer-reviewed journal. There is a charge for publication by authors submitting
directly to the journal. Waivers will be given to authors from some countries.
Authors who receive funding from some agencies or institutions do not pay
directly, the charge being paid by the funder. The journal intends to publish
high quality articles from all over the world and will be actively seeking
submissions from emerging countries with expanding agricultural research
communities. The Editorial Board is headed by Editor-in-Chief, Professor Martin
Parry, Head of the Plant Science Centre for Crop Genetic Improvement, Rothamsted
Research, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2JQ, UK.
Examples of areas to be covered in “Food and Energy Security” include: Agronomy;
Biotechnological Approaches; Breeding & Genetics; Climate Change; Quality and
Composition; Food Crops and Bioenergy Feedstocks; Developmental, Physiology and
Biochemistry; Functional Genomics; Molecular Biology; Pest and Disease
Management; Post Harvest Biology; Soil Science; Systems Biology
10th International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP2013) in Beijing, China.
25-30 August 2013.
Contact: Professor You-Liang Peng, Department of Plant Pathology, College of
and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, PR China. Phone: +86-10-62733607;