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Phytophthora research is focussed on assessing the impact of various Phytophthora species, including newly emerging diseases caused by species such as P. ramorum, P. kernoviae, P. lateralis, and P. austrocedri. In addition, established Phytophthora species showing changed behaviour, perhaps due to climate change or exposure to new hosts, are also under investigation.
Phytophthora (Greek for ‘plant destroyer’) is one of the world’s most destructive genera of plant pathogens. Probably the most famous species of the genus in Phytophthora infestans, which attacks the leaves and stems of potato plants and causes the disease that contributed to the potato famine in Ireland in the mid 1800s. Since the early 1990’s the profile of Phytophthoras in forests and natural ecosystems has risen markedly around the globe and diseases such as Phytophthora disease of alder and Sudden Oak Death are widespread and highly damaging in some countries.
The European PRA of P. ramorum is now available.
This research is funded by the Forestry Commission as part of the Phytophthora Diseases Work Area and Defra. Current and past research support comes from various EU projects and COST Actions and the USDA Forest Service
Work on Phytophthora diseases of trees has been a key part of the work of Forest Research for many years. Research on Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae started in 2003 and was extended in 2011 to include other damaging Phytophthoras such as P. lateralis, P. austrocedri, P. pseudosyringae and P. cinnamomi as part of the Tree Health work in Delivering Resilient Forests and Understanding Biotic Threats.
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