Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Plants get sick too

Welcome to The Hypersensitive Response! This blog is intended to provide information about the basics of plant pathology, the history of plant pathology, plant diseases, plant disease diagnosis, disease management, current topics, recently published papers, and much more.

For those of you who have never thought about it, plants are organisms that suffer stresses just like animals/humans do. Because of the nature of plants, the stresses they endure are in many ways different from those endured by animals, but they are remarkably similar too, as future posts will point out.

Plant stresses can be broadly divided in abiotic and biotic stresses. Abiotic stresses are those that result from the environment that the plant is in. For example, a plant cannot simply walk off to a cooler area when it is too hot, and low and high temperature can cause stress. Plants derive their mineral nutrition (mainly) through their root system, so availability of nutrients (either too much or not enough) can cause stress to a plant. Humidity, physical wounding, too much water or not enough, all are causes of abiotic stress.

Biotic stresses are those caused by other organisms. The term "organisms" is used broadly here, and includes viruses (which are not considered living organisms), bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, and even other plants.

The field of plant pathology mainly focuses on diseases caused by organisms, however, often interactions with abiotic factors are also considered. For example, a plant may normally not be attacked by a certain pathogen, but is a target whent he plant is already weakened by an excess water. There often are interactions between abiotic and biotic factors to plant disease, and hopefully these will be discussed extensively on this blog.

If you want to contribute as a guest author, please contact me at the e-mail address provided in the sidebar. I will gladly turn this blog into a group blog, and I invite everyone that has something to write on plant pathology to become a one-time guest author, or a regular contributor. The more people, the broader the scope, and the more interesting the blog becomes.

Welcome and enjoy!

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