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Australasian Plant Pathology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 113–124 | Cite as

A Bioinformatics Framework for plant pathologists to deliver global food security outcomes

Keynote address from the 18th Australasian Plant Pathology Society Conference 2011
  • Matthew I. BellgardEmail author
  • Stanley E. Bellgard
Article

Abstract

Bioinformatics applies information technologies to the allied fields of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, biotechnology, microbiology, plant physiology and molecular biology. Bioinformatics devises strategies for data management, analysis and integration tools that enable rapid scientific discovery and informed decision making. In plant pathology, the ‘contemporary’ application stage of bioinformatics is typically after a pathogen has been identified as a causative agent for a given plant host and subjected to biotechnological studies. In contrast, this paper contends that a broader bioinformatics framework should also integrate data/reports and interpretations/treatments as soon as potential pathogen incursions are encountered on a farm or forestry plot: capturing in real-time, elements of the incursion, sampling/survey, diagnostics, remedial treatments and field/laboratory work leading to the development of new cultivars or multiple disease resistance. Data currently captured/generated are managed in disparate formats: field/laboratory books, spreadsheets maintained independently by growers, extension officers and scientists, located in geographically disperse locations (e.g. farms, offices, institutions, archival repositories). Bioinformatics solutions provide the opportunity for a more coordinated electronic basis to manage/integrate this information. In this paper, a Bioinformatics Framework is proposed that enables improved cross-border, trans-discipline collaborative efforts that will enable more informed decision making by relevant stakeholders. In this way a shared biosecurity infrastructure can be developed that caters for sustainable global food and fibre production in the context of global climatic changes and increased opportunities for accidental disease incursions through the global plant trade.

Keywords

Bioinformatics Plant pathology Global food safety Disease incursion 

Notes

Acknowledgements

MIB: acknowledges BioPlatforms Australia Pty Ltd for travel and bioinformatics infrastructure support funded through the Australian Federally funded National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. Insightful suggestions regarding remote sensing in assessing crop performance from Professor Mike Bevan at the John Innes Centre, UK. The Australasian Plant Pathology Society especially Professor Mark Sutherland for the invitation to give a Key Note address at the 18th Biennial Australasian Plant Pathology Society Conference, 26–29 April, 2011.

SEB: acknowledges Landcare Research Capability Fund CF 1011-94-01 for research and travel support.

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Copyright information

© Australasian Plant Pathology Society Inc. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Comparative GenomicsMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  2. 2.Landcare ResearchAucklandNew Zealand

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