Understanding interactions between Ramularia collo-cygni and barley leaf physiology to target improvements in host resistance and disease control strategies (PhD)


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 October 2014 - 31 March 2017
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:

About this project

The challenge

Ramularia leaf spot caused by the fungus Ramularia collo-cygni, is an important disease of barley crops. The fungus grows through the plant from infected seed, initially without producing visible symptoms. Visible lesions are usually produced around flowering or shortly after. At present, there is a lack of understanding about how the fungus interacts with its host plant to impair leaf function and thus, on the mechanisms that result in yield loss. This lack of understanding hinders our ability to identify suitable strategies for developing resistance and to target fungicide applications. Specifically, it is not known to what extent photosynthesis and plant growth is restricted in non-symptom expressing regions of leaves and during the asymptomatic phases of pathogen growth.

The project

This project aims to determine the relationship between:

  • Amount of pathogen infection
  • Severity of visible symptoms
  • Rate of leaf photosynthesis and net carbon assimilation in the symptomless phase and symptom-expressing phases of pathogen growth
  • Rate of leaf photosynthesis and net carbon assimilation in different regions of leaf tissue

Measurements will be made on a range of barley varieties known to differ in the severity of visible symptoms observed in the field.

 The benefits

The results will enable breeders and agronomists to determine whether it is important to prevent the asymptomatic growth of ramularia or simply the development of visible symptoms and thus aid the development of more effective host resistance and disease control strategies.