The aim of my PhD project is to describe the essential disease causal agent for faba bean root rot in the UK and develop a risk prediction system for farmers. Foot and root rot is a disease complex with a number of organisms contributing to the disease. The project will first investigate the causal agents of disease using a combination of classical pathology (isolation/culturing/pathogenicity studies) and molecular identification (DNA barcoding). Following characterisation, species specific molecular tools will be developed to enable a broader survey of plant and soil from bean growing locations from around the UK.
We will also evaluate DNA extraction methods from soil with the aim of developing a risk prediction service for growers, focused on profiling the presence of the key disease-causing agents at sites. Finally, we will evaluate faba bean germplasm available in the UK for the presence of resistance/tolerance phenotypes which could become the focus of future breeding programs and integrated disease management strategies.