Food security will be a major issue in the decades ahead – a combination of global warming and population growth will require production of food stuffs to massively increase. Also on the increase are pests and diseases.
According to the James Hutton Institute:
between 30-40% of our crops are lost to pathogens long before they reach our dinner plates.
Increasing resistance of pathogens to pesticides and tightening regulations that restrict the use of our remaining chemical control agents have had a cumulative negative effect on food production.
The largest ever gathering of plant experts is taking place at the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions World Congress at Glasgow’s SECC – 1400 plant scientists from 52 countries
Professor John Jones, leader of the James Hutton Institute’s Cell and Molecular Sciences group and co-organiser of the event, said:
“In order to develop new ways to combat the plethora of pests and diseases in the environment it is essential to develop a full understanding of how different plants either survive or succumb to disease.
“In this fast-moving scientific field, timely communication between researchers is vital to uncover and learn from the molecular battles that occur between plants and the pests and parasites that infect them.”
Professor Paul Birch, head of the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Dundee and a co-organiser of the gathering, added:
“Delegates will hear about the latest advances in our knowledge of how pathogens infect plants and of how research can help to improve the plant immune system to fight off infection.”