Bioscience Research Group Seminar Series

Here are the full details of The University of Hertfordshire's Bioscience Research Group seminars, sponsored by the Biochemical Society.

Modelling as a useful tool for mycotoxin management in the field

Delivered by Dr Marco Camardo Leggieri (Department of Sustainable Crop Production Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milan, Rome)

Date: 19 January 2022

Mycotoxins are widespread problems in stored fruits, grains, and vegetables and are becoming more pronounced with global climate change. Mycotoxin-producing fungi infect crops before, during, and after harvest and remain associated with crops during storage. The level of mycotoxin contamination is often a function of disease intensity, fungal biomass, and weather conditions prior to harvest. The ecology of mycotoxin producing fungi is the primary source of variability in the population associated with host crops in different geographic areas and years. Weather parameters are the driving variables for fungal communities during crop growth in the field. Unfortunately, the established knowledge on fungal distribution worldwide has been recently weakened due to climate change. Humans cannot impact weather variables during the growing season, but they can use the cropping system to mitigate their impact on plants and fungi. In this context, predictive models using meteorological data as input can support the stakeholders as the core of Decision Support Systems, showing risk areas based on the history of meteorological conditions, on actual and future data. Few pathosystems involving mycotoxin producing fungi were deeply studied, and few mechanistic models are available; in addition, the accuracy of their predictions decreased due to climate change, and the impact of the cropping system applied increased. Research efforts allowed studying the complex interaction between co-occurring fungi and put the basis for model improvements. The contribution of machine learning will be crucial to improve model performances and support stakeholder actions in a crop-chain view.

Please contact Maria Dimitriadi for further details.