Science and the future of food at Warwick Crop Centre, Part 2: Protection of Vital Vegetables

By Sakeena Rajpal, GLOBUS Communications and Events Officer

As the air turns crisper and colder, and the festive season draws closer and closer, I suddenly remembered how important roast vegetables are to a perfect Christmas dinner, shining like jewels as they arrive crispy and tender out of the oven on Christmas day. This is not forgetting how important vegetables are in a perfect Sunday roast, or even in a hearty vegetable soup after a long, tiring, cold day of work…

As I continued to reminisce about food, this led me back to remember the ‘Quarantine Field’ at the Warwick Crop Centre– a unique facility in the UK that plays a significant role in sustainable crop disease management . The research at this facility led by Professor John Clarkson focuses on combatting soil-borne disease caused by pathogens. This restricted access area is a ground for trialling new crop protection products and assessing new crop varieties for disease resistance, through diagnostics and biological control.

So why are these pathogens so dangerous? These pathogens (mainly fungal) can reside in soil for years, and even up to decades making soil borne diseases difficult to control. Some of the key soil-borne diseases that are being focused on are :

Overall, the ‘Quarantine Field’ (which is funded by the government and research councils such as the UKRI and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) enables researchers such as John Clarkson and his team to collaborate with plant breeders and agronomists to sustainably improve our food systems. Through trialling crop varieties for commercial companies, successful yields of our all-important veggies are ensured, as well as the upkeep of UK farm’s livelihoods.  

Header image by Norbert via Pixabay

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