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Monitoring airborne inoculum for improved plant disease management. A review
Agronomy for Sustainable Development  (IF5.832),  Pub Date : 2021-05-20, DOI: 10.1007/s13593-021-00694-z
Hervé Van der Heyden, Pierre Dutilleul, Jean-Benoit Charron, Guillaume J. Bilodeau, Odile Carisse

Global demand for pesticide-free food products is increasing rapidly. Crops of all types are, however, under constant threat from various plant pathogens. To achieve adequate control with minimal pesticide use, close monitoring is imperative. Many plant pathogens spread through the air, so the atmosphere is composed of a wide variety of plant pathogenic and non-plant pathogenic organisms, in particular in agricultural environments. Aerobiology is the science that studies airborne microorganisms and their distribution, especially as agents of infection. Although this discipline has existed for decades, the development of new molecular technologies is contributing to an increase in the use of aerobiological data for several purposes, from day-to-day monitoring to improving our understanding of pathosystems. Although the importance of knowing the size and composition of plant pathogen populations present in the air is recognized, technical constraints hinder the development of agricultural aerobiology. Here we review the application of spore sampling systems in agriculture and discuss the main considerations underlying the implementation of airborne inoculum monitoring. The results of this literature review confirm that the use of aerobiological data to study the escape of inoculum from a source and its role in the development of diseases is well mastered, but point at a lack of knowledge to proceed with the deployment of these systems at the landscape scale. Thus, we conclude that airborne inoculum surveillance networks are still in their early stages and although more and more initiatives are emerging, research must be conducted primarily to integrate evolving technologies and improve the access, analysis, interpretation and sharing of data. These tools are needed to estimate short- and medium-term risks, identify the most appropriate control measures with the lowest environmental risk, develop indicators to document the effects of climate change, and monitor the evolution of new genotypes at multiple scales.