Emerging Plant Diseases : Reducing the Impact of Alternaria Species on Potato Production

Researcher / PhD Candidate : Ioannis Baltzakis

Early Blight disease of potato crops had traditionally been attributed to the pathogen Alternaria solani. Recent findings aided by advancements in molecular techniques of species identification and taxonomy indicate that there are more Alternaria species present and attributing, to what now should be referred as the Early Blight Complex.

Main objective of my research is to better the understanding of the disease complex on potato crops. The idea is to obtain a better understanding of the dynamics between the pathogens that participate in the complex by investigating differences in their biology, host interactions, pathogenicity, epidemiological characteristics and their genetic diversity.

I am interested in investigating the impact of the Early Blight Complex on potato crops by examining variations in host-species interactions and how those might affect crop yield and spread of the disease in a potato field.

Another objective of mine is to create a mathematical model of disease spread over the field. The model to be developed will be used as a learning tool to enhance our understanding of the disease and its development pattern, as well as to check the various hypotheses formulated as to where the disease originates from in a potato field.


SUPERVISORS:

Wageningen University: Prof.dr.ir. PC (Paul) Struik

NIAB : Dr Jane Thomas


PROJECT TIMELINE:

September 2014 – September 2018 (expected)


Ioannis’ EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:

MSc by Reseach from Cranfield University, UK. Research theme on Plant Pathology and Post-Harvest Physiology

Degree in Plant Science, Technological Institute of Crete, Greece


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