First author: INRA-Bordeaux, UMR Santé Végétale, BP81, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon; and second author: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Dowing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EA, UK
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Accepted for publication 8 January 2004.
Epidemiological modeling, together with parameter estimation to experimental data, was used to examine the contribution of disease-induced root growth to the spread of take-all in wheat. Production of roots from plants grown in the absence of disease was compared with production of those grown in the presence of disease and the precise form of diseaseinduced growth was examined by fitting a mechanistic model to data describing change in the number of infected and susceptible roots over time from a low and a high density of inoculum. During the early phase of the epidemic, diseased plants produced more roots than their noninfected counterparts. However, as the epidemic progressed, the rate of root production for infected plants slowed so that by the end of the epidemic, and depending on inoculum density, infected plants had fewer roots than uninfected plants. The dynamical change in the numbers of infected and susceptible roots over time could only be explained by the mechanistic model when allowance was made for disease-induced root growth. Analysis of the effect of disease-induced root production on the spread of disease using the model suggests that additional roots produced early in the epidemic serve only to reduce the proportion of diseased roots. However, as the epidemic switches from primary to secondary infection, these roots perform an active role in the transmission of disease. Some consequence of disease-induced root growth for field epidemics is discussed.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society