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Large-Scale Fungicide Spray Heterogeneity and the Regional Spread of Resistant Pathogen Strains

May 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  5
Pages  549 - 555

S. Parnell , F. van den Bosch , and C. A. Gilligan

First and third authors: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK; and first and second authors: Biomathematics, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts., AL5 2JQ, UK

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Accepted for publication 17 January 2006.

Most models for the spread of fungicide resistance in plant pathogens are focused on within-field dynamics, yet regional invasion depends upon the interactions between field populations. Here, we use a spatially implicit metapopulation model to describe the dynamics of regional spread, in which subpopulations correspond to single fields. We show that the criterion for the regional invasion of pathogens between fields differs from that for invasion within fields. That is, the ability of a fungicide-resistant strain of a pathogen to invade a field population does not necessarily imply an ability to spread through many fields at the regional scale. This depends upon an interaction between the fraction of fields that is sprayed and the reproductive capacity of the pathogen. This result is of practical significance and indicates that resistance management strategies which currently target within-field processes, such as the use of mixtures and alternations of fungicides, may be more effective if between-field processes also were targeted; for example, through the restricted deployment of fungicides over large areas. We also show that the fraction of disease-free fields is maximized when the proportion of fields that is sprayed is just below the threshold for invasion of the resistant strain.

Additional keywords: fitness cost, fungicide effectiveness.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society