Using the Lab-on-a-Chip to understand the protrusive force exerted by pathogenic hyphae

Status: Completed

Dates: 2016 - 2017

Māori Relevant Content: Yes


  • Brian Mason Scientific & Technical Trust (Brian Mason Trust, 2016 - 2017)

Project Abstract

The aim of this project is to better understand the mechanisms that underlie invasive growth of fungi and oomycetes. Invasive growth is a key aspect in the diseases that are caused by these organisms. This study is important as an unprecedented number of fungal and oomycete diseases have recently been responsible for some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions of plants and animals ever witnessed. Human activity is intensifying fungal disease dispersal by modifying natural environments and it has been estimated that due to climate change pathogenic species are spreading towards the Poles at a rate of 2.8 km/yr. In the near future nascent fungal infections will cause increasing attrition of biodiversity, with wide implications for both human and ecosystem health1. With respect to Canterbury and Westland the fungus Nectria fuckeliana has recently been reported to have moved into these regions from Southland and is a potential problem for fruit trees and the pip fruit industry. However this is just one example, there are a multitude of fungal/oomycete diseases present in the region affecting both agriculture (e.g. facial eczema and fescue toxicosis of cattle and sheep, wheat stripe rust and take-all disease, barley scald and leaf rust, pea wilt and mildew and root rot), forestry (various diseases of pine) and native species (various trees, silver fern and cabbage tree). Further north, the dieback disease of Kauri is an oomycete disease that is currently receiving much attention.

Researchers - UC Staff

Associated Groups

Subject Area: Disciplines