School of Plant Biology

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Xiangling Fang

Thesis

Characterization and management of soil-borne pathogens on strawberry and resistance mechanisms against Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. fragariae

Summary

Strawberry is a high-value export crop grown in Western Australia (WA), constituting more than 70% of Australia’s strawberry exports. Devastating outbreaks of crown and root diseases in WA in recent years have impacted severely on strawberry production. In excess of 1 million plants die annually from crown and root diseases, with a significant additional number of plants performing poorly, and plant deaths appear to be escalating annually. The surveys of the largest strawberry fields in WA confirmed up to 50% plant losses on worst-affected properties. WA’s position as a major and reliable Australia exporter of strawberry is currently under threat from such disease outbreaks.

This research is to characterize the fungal and oomycete pathogens associated with crown and root diseases of strawberry in WA and to investigate the possible strategies to manage the diseases caused by the main pathogens.

Why my research is important

Although strawberry production in WA is severely compromised by crown and root diseases, little is known on the characteristics of fungal and oomycete pathogens associated with such diseases of strawberry in WA, and much less on how to manage such diseases. My PhD study will not only to provide new information on the characterization of a wide range of fungal pathogens associated with crown and root diseases of strawberry in WA, but also to develop strategies for management of such diseases in WA.

Funding

  • ARC
  • UWA-China SIRF Scholarships