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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Feb 27;363(1492):741-59.

Sustainable agriculture and plant diseases: an epidemiological perspective.

Author information

  • Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK. cag1@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

The potential for modern biology to identify new sources for genetical, chemical and biological control of plant disease is remarkably high. Successful implementation of these methods within globally and locally changing agricultural environments demands new approaches to durable control. This, in turn, requires fusion of population genetics and epidemiology at a range of scales from the field to the landscape and even to continental deployment of control measures. It also requires an understanding of economic and social constraints that influence the deployment of control. Here I propose an epidemiological framework to model invasion, persistence and variability of epidemics that encompasses a wide range of scales and topologies through which disease spreads. By considering how to map control methods onto epidemiological parameters and variables, some new approaches towards optimizing the efficiency of control at the landscape scale are introduced. Epidemiological strategies to minimize the risks of failure of chemical and genetical control are presented and some consequences of heterogeneous selection pressures in time and space on the persistence and evolutionary changes of the pathogen population are discussed. Finally, some approaches towards embedding epidemiological models for the deployment of control in an economically plausible framework are presented.

PMID:
17827101
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2610107
Free PMC Article

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