Wellesbourne, United Kingdom
Wellesbourne, United Kingdom

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Bryan S.J.,Queen Mary, University of London | Burroughs N.J.,University of Warwick | Evered C.,Warwick HRI | Sacharz J.,Queen Mary, University of London | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: In cyanobacteria the photosystems are localised to, and maintained in, specialist membranes called the thylakoids. The mechanism driving the biogenesis of the thylakoid membranes is still an open question, with only two potential biogenesis factors, Vipp1 and Alb3 currently identified. Methodology/Principal Findings: We generated a slr1768 knockout using the pGEM T-easy vector and REDIRECT. By comparing growth and pigment content (chlorophyll a fluoresence) of the Δslr1768 mutant with the wild-type, we found that Δslr1768 has a conditional phenotype; specifically under high light conditions (130 μmol m-2 s-1) thylakoid biogenesis is disrupted leading to cell death on a scale of days. The thylakoids show considerable disruption, with loss of both structure and density, while chlorophyll a density decreases with the loss of thylakoids, although photosynthetic efficiency is unaffected. Under low light (30 μmol m-2 s-1) the phenotype is significantly reduced, with a growth rate similar to the wild-type and only a low frequency of cells with evident thylakoid disruption. Conclusions/Significance: This is the first example of a gene that affects the maintenance of the thylakoid membranes specifically under high light, and which displays a phenotype dependent on light intensity. Our results demonstrate that Slr1768 has a leading role in acclimatisation, linking light damage with maintenance of the thylakoids. © 2011 Bryan et al.


Guo R.,Lanzhou University | Nendel C.,Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research | Rahn C.,Warwick HRI | Jiang C.,China Agricultural University | Chen Q.,China Agricultural University
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2010

Vegetable production in China is associated with high inputs of nitrogen, posing a risk of losses to the environment. Organic matter mineralisation is a considerable source of nitrogen (N) which is hard to quantify. In a two-year greenhouse cucumber experiment with different N treatments in North China, non-observed pathways of the N cycle were estimated using the EU-Rotate_N simulation model. EU-Rotate_N was calibrated against crop dry matter and soil moisture data to predict crop N uptake, soil mineral N contents, N mineralisation and N loss. Crop N uptake (Modelling Efficiencies (ME) between 0.80 and 0.92) and soil mineral N contents in different soil layers (ME between 0.24 and 0.74) were satisfactorily simulated by the model for all N treatments except for the traditional N management. The model predicted high N mineralisation rates and N leaching losses, suggesting that previously published estimates of N leaching for these production systems strongly underestimated the mineralisation of N from organic matter. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Pettitt T.R.,Horticulture Research International | Wainwright M.F.,Horticulture Research International | Wakeham A.J.,Warwick HRI | Wakeham A.J.,University of Worcester | White J.G.,Warwick HRI
Plant Pathology | Year: 2011

A detached leaf assay was developed to determine the pathogenicity of Pythium isolates to cut-flower chrysanthemum roots. Leaves from young plants were excised and inoculated by insertion of a plug of mycelium into a slit cut in the excised petiole. After incubation leaves were assessed for presence and extent of necrosis. Necrosis indicated pathogenicity and was consistently confirmed by comparisons with whole plant inoculations. The rate of necrosis spread also gave some indication of virulence. Isolates of Pythium sylvaticum, P. ultimum and HS group were the most virulent, with a mean rate of spread of 14·6mm per day, significantly (P<0·05) faster than the mean rate of spread, 1·6mm per day, of less virulent isolates. Less virulent isolates included P. irregulare, P. oligandrum and P. aphanidermatum. The latter was unexpected, as P. aphanidermatum is an important species in pythium root rot epidemics in chrysanthemums elsewhere. The value of the detached leaf assay for screening large numbers of isolates was demonstrated in a survey of isolates from clinic samples from chrysanthemum nurseries and in a series of dilution-plating experiments looking at numbers of Pythium propagules in commercial chrysanthemum beds showing root rot. In the survey, the predominant pathogenic species was identified as P. sylvaticum and the most likely source of infection was contaminated soil as opposed to blocking media or irrigation water, whilst in soil colonization studies the use of detached leaf assays demonstrated a relationship between pathogenic inoculum concentration in soil and the expression of root rot symptoms. © 2011 The Authors. Plant Pathology © 2011 BSPP.


Jones E.E.,Lincoln University at Christchurch | Stewart A.,Lincoln University at Christchurch | Whipps J.M.,Warwick HRI
Fungal Biology | Year: 2011

Water availability is an important environmental factor which has major effects on fungal activity. The effects of osmotic (KCl amended agar) and matric Polyethylene glycol ((PEG) 8000 amended agar) potentials over the range -0.1 to -5.0. MPa on mycelial growth and conidial germination of eight isolates of the sclerotial parasite Coniothyrium minitans was assessed. The influence of soil water potential on the ability of three selected isolates (LU112, LU545, and T5R42i) to parasitise sclerotia of the plant pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum was determined. For all eight C. minitans isolates, decreasing osmotic and matric potentials caused a reduction in mycelial growth and conidial germination. Isolates were more sensitive to decreasing matric potential than osmotic potential. Across the isolates, growth at an osmotic potential of -5.0. MPa was 30-70. % of the growth seen in the control, whereas less than 20. % of the control growth was seen at the corresponding matric potential. Across all isolates no conidial germination was seen at matric potential of -5.0. MPa. The C. minitans isolates varied in their sensitivity to decreasing water potentials. Mycelial growth and conidial germination of three isolates (LU112, Conio, and CH1) were more tolerant of low osmotic potential and matric potential with respect to mycelial growth. Isolates T5R42i and LU430 were least tolerant. In contrast, conidial germination of isolates Conio, LU545, and T5R42i were less sensitive to decreasing matric potential. Soil water potential was seen to affect infection and viability of sclerotia by the three C. minitans isolates. Isolate LU545 reduced sclerotial viability over a wider water potential range (-0.01 to -1.5. MPa) compared with LU112 (-0.01 to -1.0. MPa), with isolate T5R42i being intermediate. Indigenous soil fungi (Trichoderma spp. and Clonostachys rosea) were recovered from sclerotia but did not result in reduction in sclerotial viability. The relevance of these results in relation to biocontrol activity of C. minitans in soil is discussed. © 2011 British Mycological Society.


Monaghan J.M.,Harper Adams University College | Rahn C.R.,Warwick HRI | Hilton H.W.,Warwick HRI | Wood M.,Earthcare Environmental Ltd.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

Drip-based fertigation may improve the application efficiency of water and nutrients while maintaining or improving marketable yield and quality at harvest and post-harvest. Two plantings of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were grown in the UK, with six N treatments and two methods of irrigation and N application. The conventional overhead irrigated treatments had all N applied in the base dressing with irrigation scheduled from SMD calculations. The closed loop treatments had nitrogen and irrigation delivered via drip automatically controlled by a sensor and logger system. The work established that water content in the root zone can be monitored in real time using horizontally oriented soil moisture sensors linked to data logging and telemetry, and that these data can be used to automatically trigger drip irrigation for commercially grown field vegetables. When the closed loop irrigation control was combined with fertigation treatments, lettuce crops were grown with savings of up to 60% and 75% of water and nitrogen respectively, compared to standard UK production systems. However, excess supply of N through fertigation rather than solid fertiliser was more detrimental to marketable yield and post harvest quality highlighting that care is needed when selecting N rates for fertigation.


Burns I.G.,Warwick HRI | Rahn C.R.,Warwick HRI | Parkinson R.,University of Plymouth | Fuller M.P.,University of Plymouth
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

The implementation of the Nitrates Directive has imposed a requirement to restrict N fertiliser and manuring practices on farms across the EU in order to reduce nitrate losses to water. These requirements have since been extended by the more demanding Water Framework Directive, which broadens the focus from the control of farm practices to a consideration of the impacts of pollutants from all sources on water quality at a catchment or larger scale. Together, these Directives set limits for water quality, and identify general strategies for how these might be achieved. However, it is the responsibility of policy makers in each Nation State to design the details of the management practices and environmental protection measures required to meet the objectives of the legislation, to ensure they are appropriate for their specific types of land use and climate. This paper describes various modelling tools for comparing different cropping and land use strategies, and illustrates with examples how they can inform policy makers about the environmental benefits of changing management practices and how to prioritise them. The results can help to provide the specific advice on N fertiliser and land use management required by farmers and growers at a field scale, and by environmental managers at a catchment or larger scale. A further example of how results from multiple catchments can be up-scaled and compared using Geographic Information Systems is also outlined.


Burns I.G.,Warwick HRI | Hammond J.P.,Warwick HRI | White P.J.,Scottish Crop Research Institute
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

The research outlined in this paper highlights the importance of the early nutrition of vegetable crops, and its long-term effects on their subsequent growth and development. Results are also presented to demonstrate how the nutrient supply during the establishment stages of young seedlings and transplants can be enhanced by targeting fertiliser to a zone close to their developing roots. Three different precision fertiliser placement techniques are compared for this purpose: starter, band or side-injected fertiliser. The use of each of these methods consistently produced the same (or greater) yields at lower application rates than those from conventional broadcast applications, increasing the apparent recovery of N, P and K, and the overall efficiency of nutrient use, while reducing the levels of residual nutrients in the soil. Starter fertilisers also advanced the maturity of some crops, and enhanced produce quality by increasing the proportions of the larger and/or more desirable marketable grades. The benefits of the different placement techniques are illustrated with selected examples from research at Warwick HRI using different vegetable crops, including lettuce, onion and carrot.

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