A physically based theoretical model of spore deposition for predicting spread of plant diseases

Scott A. Isard, Marcelo Chamecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A physically based theory for predicting spore deposition downwind from an area source of inoculum is presented. The modeling framework is based on theories of turbulence dispersion in the atmospheric boundary layer and applies only to spores that escape from plant canopies. A "disease resistance" coefficient is introduced to convert the theoretical spore deposition model into a simple tool for predicting disease spread at the field scale. Results from the model agree well with published measurements of Uromyces phaseoli spore deposition and measurements of wheat leaf rust disease severity. The theoretical model has the advantage over empirical models in that it can be used to assess the influence of source distribution and geometry, spore characteristics, and meteorological conditions on spore deposition and disease spread. The modeling framework is refined to predict the detailed two-dimensional spatial pattern of disease spread from an infection focus. Accounting for the time variations of wind speed and direction in the refined modeling procedure improves predictions, especially near the inoculum source, and enables application of the theoretical modeling framework to field experiment design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-253
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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