National surveys show fungicide use on wheat continues to increase despite fluctuations in disease pressure, reaching a 30 year high in 2012 (Defra). Septoria tritici is the most significant foliar disease in UK wheat causing between £43M to £53M in yield losses annually; Yellow and brown rust are more sporadic but have caused significant losses during high disease years. In all cases control is by fungicide application costing £82M annually (GFK Kynetec 2013). Effective disease management relies on either prophylactic pesticide use or significant manual intervention and time consuming assessment of crop disease indicators by farmers and agronomists. Furthermore indications are that current levels of pesticide use could lead to increased risk of pesticide resistance, if this should occur it is estimated that wheat yields could reduce by up to 20%. To address this we have developed a prototype integrated and automated spore detection system, designed for unattended field application, to monitor and identify the presence of Septoria, brown and yellow rust. The prototype system incorporates novel cyclonic pathogen collection, on-board sample processing and isothermal DNA amplification chemistry (LAMP). We present the engineering design, optimisation and evaluation of our prototype system reporting on successfully completed laboratory testing and initial field trial results. This prototype will be the basis for the development of a commercially available system which, in addition to inoculum detection, will be capable of providing growers/agronomists with real-time information on inoculum moving into a crop enabling more effective timing and selection of fungicide application, and thus better control, increased yield, and improved environmental stewardship.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017
EventInnovation in plant biosecurity 2017 - Fera Science Ltd (Fera), National Agri-Food Innovation Campus, Sand Hutton, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Mar 201716 Feb 2018


ConferenceInnovation in plant biosecurity 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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