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18th International Plant Protection Congress, Berlin, Germany 24th – 27th August 2015
I was fortunate enough to receive the travel grant from BSPP to attend the IPPC last August in Berlin. This scientific event is held every four years, and the primary focus of this Congress was on ‘Mission possible: food for all through appropriate plant protection’. The Congress welcomed over 1,200 delegates from 95 countries to Free University, Berlin. IPPC covered a broad range of topics within the plant protection community; this gave me the opportunity to learn new findings in fields not directly related to my research.
Per Pinstrup Andersen (Cornell University, USA) gave an excellent keynote session on ‘Achieving food security for all in the foreseeable future: what will it take?’ outlining the food crisis and the future sustainable food security challenges.
Of particular interest to me was the session on Plant-Pathogen Interactions, where the talks were focused on the plant immunity, PAMP-triggered immunity and transcriptome based screening for resistance genes against plant pathogens.
Keeping with the theme, Christopher Middleton (Hertford, UK) presented the ‘Expression changes in Hevea brasiliensis root in response to Rigidoporus microporus infection’. His talk outlined the use of RNA-seq technology for identifying the stress related genes in H. brasiliensis roots, during the infection with R. microporus. Given my research interest in centred on Plant- Microbe Interactions in potato tubers, the outcomes of his reach were intriguing.
I also enjoyed the talk by Simoneau Philippe (University of Angers, France); his lab focuses on the seedborne fungal pathogens. His talk was focused mainly on transcriptomics and functional analysis to unravel the fungal necrotrophic interaction in Brassicaceae.
I was captivated by many of the talks in the session, and it is hard to pick out just a few. However, the presentation and discussion during the session and post-session were very useful for my research.
I gained useful knowledge by attending the session on Assessment and Management of Invasive Species, Non- Chemical disease control, Biocontrol and Integrated Pest Management. All in, I enjoyed attending these sessions that helped me in identifying the potential application of my research. During the poster presentation session, where I presented my research ‘Defence response of Potato to Pectobacterium spp. during soft rot infection’, I had a useful discussion with other post-grad students, scientist and collaborators. It was quite refreshing to see a substantial interest in plant-microbe interactions research from agricultural industries in particular potato production and grading industry. I also attended few other add-on modules like the Junior Scientist World Cafe, where we discussed the roles of scientist/future scientist in the future of plant protection, organic farming and way to secure global food security. I also had an opportunity to attend the author workshop for young scientists, which focused on scientific writing, publishing and reviewing papers, which I found very valuable.
The congress dinner was held in the stunning greenhouse at the Botanical Gardens, where they offered guided tours around the glasshouse and the gardens. The dinner also provided an opportunity to meet with other plant pathologist and also to build up new connections for future collaboration. In all attending the IPPC meeting was a great experience. I would like to thank BSPP for their generous contribution that enabled me to attend this Congress.
Pavithra Ramakrishnan Bio-Protection Research Centre, New Zealand The 9th International Symposium on Septoria Diseases of Cereals, Paris, France 7th – 9th April 2016 The Symposium was held at the Societe Nationale d’Horticulture de France. The symposium brought together 160 participants from around the world. The meeting aimed to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration between scientists to better understand Septoria diseases of cereals in terms of recent advances, challenges and future opportunities, to develop novel and efficient control methods. The scientific program comprised of five plenary sessions where oral presentations were given by more than 50 speakers and around 65 posters displayed.
The symposium was opened with two keynote lectures. Professor Richard Oliver from the Curtin University, Australia gave an overview of the bottlenecks in the discovery and utilisation of necrotrophic effectors and markers for the control of cereal Dothideomycete diseases and his views on their future prospects, whi le Professor Eva Stukenbrock from Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany delivered a lecture exploring the genome dynamics and accessory elements in plant pathogenic fungus Zymoseptoria tritici. The first plenary session, jointly chaired by Professor Steve Goodwin and Assistant Professor Peter Solomon, focused on pathogen evolution and population biology.
This session gave an in-depth view of the variation within the Z. tritici population, and the contribution of host specialisation on the genetic structure of fungal populations. For someone relatively new in Septoria research, I considered this session educative and an eye-opener to the magnitude of the challenges to control Septoria diseases because of the diversity in Z. tritici population.
The session on epidemiology, cultural management and fungicide resistance was of particular interest to me because it focused on the role of physiological research in characterising and predicting responses of cereal crops to Septoria infection under dynamically changing environmental conditions. I particularly enjoyed the talk by Guillaume Garin (ITK, Montpellier, France) describing modelling the influence of wheat canopies on Z. tritici epidemics. His work suggests that Septoria epidemics are strongly influenced by climatic conditions and crop physiology such as leaf phenology and senescence, stem growth rate and dimensions. Dr Bart Fraiije (Rothamstead Research, UK) outlined the significant economic yield losses in cereals due to Septoria tritici blotch (STB) in the UK following fungicide application. Dr Fraiije linked such losses to a shift towards fungicides resistance in Septoria isolates. He described reports of resistance in field isolates of Z. tritici to the most effective group of fungicides available today, Succinate Dehydrogenase Inhibitors (SDHI). Another talk I found interesting was by Dr Jason Rudd (Rothamstead Research, UK) presenting their work on the use of functional genomics approaches to identify novel Z. tritici candidate genes for virulence on wheat which could be useful to unravel Z. tritici- wheat host-pathogen interaction. I found this talk insightful because of my interest in incorporating functional genomics approaches in my future research.
Poster sessions were held for the first two days of the symposium. I was particularly interested in two posters which focused directly on variations in the response of wheat varieties to STB. The first presented by FranÃ§ois Collin which indicated that the expression of traits characterising grain filling and leaf area index in bread wheat could be manipulated to promote tolerance to STB. The second poster was presented by Nana Vagndorf demonstrating/showing diversity in aggressiveness of Z. tritici isolates between years, sites and varieties and also identifying four QTLs associated with resistance to STB which could be pyramided into a new variety to confer quantitative resistance against STB.
It was a great opportunity to present my work and interact with experts from Z. tritici research groups, in areas quite different from my own which ultimately helped to broaden my scientific perspective.
I am grateful to BSPP for their generous financial support to attend the International Symposium on Septoria Diseases of Cereals.
Olubukola Ajigboye University of Nottingham