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2015 News in Brief



Splash! Raindrops Spread Pathogens Among Plants

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Historical weather records have previously indicated that rainfall is correlated with appearance and spread of foliar diseases among plants, yet the mechanism governing such correlation remains unknown. A paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface by Professor Lydia Bourouiba reveals a rich range of fluid fragmentation processes captured by direct visualization. The combined experimental and modeling study reveals that leaf compliance can change the range and speed  of contamination around an infected plant by a factor of four. “By alternating plants in one field, you could envision exploiting the mechanical – rather than immunological only – properties of plants to halt rain-induced pathogen transmission at its onset” . Read more about Bourouiba’s work in the MIT News article.