Fighting Fusarium Pathogens in the Era of Climate Change: A Conceptual Approach

Pathogens. 2020 May 28;9(6):419. doi: 10.3390/pathogens9060419.

Abstract

Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by Fusarium pathogens is one of the most devastating fungal diseases of small grain cereals worldwide, substantially reducing yield quality and food safety. Its severity is increasing due to the climate change caused by weather fluctuations. Intensive research on FHB control methods has been initiated more than a decade ago. Since then, the environment has been rapidly changing at regional to global scales due to increasing anthropogenic emissions enhanced fertilizer application and substantial changes in land use. It is known that environmental factors affect both the pathogen virulence as well as plant resistance mechanisms. Changes in CO2 concentration, temperature, and water availability can have positive, neutral, or negative effects on pathogen spread depending on the environmental optima of the pathosystem. Hence, there is a need for studies of plant-pathogen interactions in current and future environmental context. Long-term monitoring data are needed in order to understand the complex nature of plants and its microbiome interactions. We suggest an holobiotic approach, integrating plant phyllosphere microbiome research on the ecological background. This will enable the development of efficient strategies based on ecological know-how to fight Fusarium pathogens and maintain sustainable agricultural systems.

Keywords: Fusarium; bacterial exopolysaccharides; ecosystem–atmosphere relations; genomic networks; plant microbiome; sustainable development.