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Divergent abiotic spectral pathways unravel pathogen stress signals across species
Nature Communications, Volume: 12, Issue: 1, Start page: 6088
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Abstract: Plant pathogens pose increasing threats to global food security, causing yield losses that exceed 30% in food-deficit regions. Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) represents the major transboundary plant pest and one of the world’s most damaging pathogens in terms of socioeconomic impact. Spectral scr...
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Abstract: Plant pathogens pose increasing threats to global food security, causing yield losses that exceed 30% in food-deficit regions. Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) represents the major transboundary plant pest and one of the world’s most damaging pathogens in terms of socioeconomic impact. Spectral screening methods are critical to detect non-visual symptoms of early infection and prevent spread. However, the subtle pathogen-induced physiological alterations that are spectrally detectable are entangled with the dynamics of abiotic stresses. Here, using airborne spectroscopy and thermal scanning of areas covering more than one million trees of different species, infections and water stress levels, we reveal the existence of divergent pathogen- and host-specific spectral pathways that can disentangle biotic-induced symptoms. We demonstrate that uncoupling this biotic–abiotic spectral dynamics diminishes the uncertainty in the Xf detection to below 6% across different hosts. Assessing these deviating pathways against another harmful vascular pathogen that produces analogous symptoms, Verticillium dahliae, the divergent routes remained pathogen- and host-specific, revealing detection accuracies exceeding 92% across pathosystems. These urgently needed hyperspectral methods advance early detection of devastating pathogens to reduce the billions in crop losses worldwide.
Faculty of Science and Engineering
The study was partially funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme through grant agreements POnTE (635646) and XFACTORS (727987), as well as by projects AGL2009-13105 from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, P08-AGR-03528 from the Regional Government of Andalusia and the European Social Fund, project E-RTA2017-00004-02 from ‘Programa Estatal de I + D + I Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad’ of Spain and FEDER, Intramural Project 201840E111 from CSIC, and Project ITS2017-095 Consejeria de Medio Ambiente, Agricultura y Pesca de las Islas Baleares, Spain.