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Jonathan Anderson, Rhonda Foley, Karam Singh

Necrotrophic fungi are the major yield constraint in agriculture in Australia. Necrotrophic fungal pathogens comprise some of the world’s most important crop diseases. However, plant resistance mechanisms against necrotrophs are poorly understood, as resistance is usually partial, quantitative, and little is known of the underlying genetic basis. One of the necrotrophic pathogens that we focus on is Rhizoctonia solani, the organism that causes Rhizoctonia bare patch and affects a wide range of hosts.

Coupled with its wide host range is the striking finding that very little natural resistance to R. solani exists in plants; as such, there are currently no available cereal or legume varieties with good resistance to this pathogen  Once Rhizoctonia disease is observed there are no control options to mitigate disease in that season. Current chemical control measures applied at the time of seeding are expensive and cultural controls often not effective. We strive to understand the driving factors affecting disease development, and produce new pre-breeding material for generating new crop varieties containing resistance to this economically important pathogen.

Rhizoctonia infecting plant roots

Please follow the links to read some of our published work on Rhizoctonia.

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