Thesis: Downy Mildew on oilseed Brassicas – understanding the drivers of disease epidemics and potential of novel host resistances
Downy mildew disease (cause Hyaloperonospora parasitica) is a major disease limitation to oilseed Brassica production (particularly rapeseed, canola, mustard) worldwide. The pathogen causes a foliar disease on oilseed brassicas and other Brassica species. Critical information about the incidence of this disease in Australia, the drivers for downy mildew epidemics, and the role of pathogen diversity, together with new understanding about sources and nature of host resistances, will together provide the foundation for future successful management of this important disease in Australia and elsewhere.
Why my research is important
The value of the canola crop in Australia ranks third after wheat and barley and the canola area grown has nearly doubled from 1.4 million ha in 2009 to 2.4 million ha in 2013. Hyaloperonospora parasitica causes downy mildew disease on Brassicas is an important and endemic pathogen across canola growing areas in Australia. The importance of downy mildew on canola crops has been demonstrated clearly in Western Australia after the destructive outbreaks of this disease in recent years, especially when it occurs at the early seedling stage. It also can reduce the productivity and quality even when plants are infected at a later growth stage.