Professor Xiangming Xu

Head of Science - East Malling
01732 523753

Research interests

Xiangming focuses his research on elucidating quantitative epidemiology of important pathogens/diseases on perennial crops, including top/soft fruit and ornamental species with the aim to develop and implementing sustainable and integrated disease management strategies. More recently, Xiangming has been engaged in understanding soil/substrate microbial ecology using next generation sequencing technology, with specific interests in the use of beneficial microbes for improving crop productivity.

Research projects

Developing microbial-based strategies to improve rice production in Tanzania: Duration: 2019–2022; Partners: NIAB (lead), Real IPM in Kenya and Tanzania, CropNuts (Kenya); Funding: Innvoate UK

INTERACT: Decoding the rhizobiota interactome for improved crop resilience; Duration: 2020-2025; Partners: NIAB, North Carolina State University, Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen; Funding: Novo Nordisk

EXCALIBUR: Exploiting the multifunctional potential of belowground biodiversity in horticultural farming; Duration: 2019-2024; Partners: NIAB, CREA (Italy), InHort (Poland), CRPV (Italy), National History Museum (UK), Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, AGRONNOVA (Italy), NIOO (Netherlands), University of Copenhagen, Graz University of Technology, Inoculum Plus (France), University of Granada (Spain), INTERMAG (Poland), NSF International (Belgium), KOB (Germany), FOKO (Germany); Funding: EU H2020

Hort-BlueC: Sustainable up-cycling of agro-, agrofood and fisheries residues in horticulture and agriculture as bioenergy, biochar and chitin-rich products; Duration: 2018-2021; Partners: NIAB, ILVP (Belgium), ECN TNO (Netherlands), University of Lille (France), ADAS (UK), Greenyard (Netherlands), Cato (Netherlands), University of Portsmouth, Proefcentrum Hoogstraten (Belgium); Funding: EU Interreg;

Collaborative training programme for fruit crop research; Duration: 2017-2024; Partners: Berry Gardens Growers Limited, NIAB, Marks and Spencer Plc, AHDB Horticulture, Mack, The National Association of Cider Makers, Worldwide Fruit Ltd; Funding: BBSRC

The role of endophytes in affecting European canker development on apple; Duration: 2017-2021; Partners: NIAB, AHDB Horticulture, Frank P Matthews Ltd., Avalon Produce Ltd., Adrian Scripps Ltd., Wordwide Fruit Ltd., ENZA (New Zealand); Funding: BBSRC LINK

Semi-automatic trapping of fungal spores causing strawberry fruit rot; Duration: 2017-2020; Partners: NIAB, Mologic Limited, Berry Gardens Growers Limited, Warwickshire College; Funding: Innovate UK

Integrated management of strawberry diseases; Duration: 2015-2020; Partners: NIAB, ADAS, University of Hertfordshire; Funding: AHDB


> 170 peer-reviewed papers, > 10 book chapters

Recent publications

Hu X-P, Cao S-Q, Cornelius A, Xu X-M (2019) Predicting overwintering of wheat stripe rust in central and north-western China. Plant Diseases, 

Deakin G, Fernández Fernández F, Bennett J, Passey T, Harrison N, Tilston EL, Xu X-M (2019) The effect of rotating apple rootstock genotypes on apple replant disease and rhizosphere microbiome. Phytobiome Journal, 

Xu X-M, Ma L, Hu X-P (2019) Overwintering of wheat stripe rust under field conditions in the north-western regions of China. Plant Disease, 103, 638-644 

Deakin G, Tilston EL, Bennett J, Passey T, Harrison N, Fernández-Fernández F, Xu X-M (2018). Spatial structuring of soil microbial communities in commercial apple orchards. Appl. Soil Ecol. 130, 1-12

Emma LT, Deakin G, Bennett J, Passey T, Harrison N, O'Brien F, Fernández-Fernández F, Xu X-M (2018) Candidate causal organisms for apple replant disease in the UK. Phytobiomes Journal, 2, 261-274

Full publication list on Google Scholar, ORCiD and ResearchGate