María Leire Molinero Ruiz

DISEASES OF FIELD CROPS

The research is focused on soilborne pathogens causing diseases of field crops, particularly sunflower and maize.

The study of sunflower diseases is a very well-established line. Major diseases of sunflower in Spain are considered: broomrape (Orobanche cumana) and downy mildew (Plasmopara halstedii). Important research efforts are also made on diseases with economic impact on the crop worldwide, such as leaf mottle and wilt (Verticillium dahliae) and stem rot (Sclerotinia spp.).
In the case of maize, research is focused on late wilt caused by the soilborne fungus Harpophora maydis (sin. Cephalosporium maydis).

Continued external collaborations consider different aspects of sunflower protection (insect pests) and Fusarium spp. affecting asparagus.

Approaches of the research at the laboratory are:

  • Pathogenic and molecular characterization of populations of soilborne pathogens.
  • Strategies for the control of crop diseases: genetic resistance, control by means of bioactive compounds, cultural practices, chemical treatments.
  • Early detection of the infection of plants by pathogens causing vascular wilts.
  • Performance of resistant lines under natural infection and different field conditions. Benefit of the use of genetic resistance in commercial hybrids and in experimental research accessions.

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