Team:WashU StLouis/HP Overview

Wheat stem rust fungus has resulted in an enormous amount of crop devastation, with more drastic effects in recent years. Since wheat is the most prevalent food crop in the world and rust fungi can cause near complete loss of yield, they take a disastrous toll on the human population and lead to global losses of billions of dollars yearly. An outbreak of new, virulent (disease-causing) race of stem rust would take a great toll on wheat crops world-wide since the crops would not be resistant and would be susceptible to the disease. It would eliminate a key food source across multiple countries and destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of farmers. The outbreaks of highly virulent races, such as TTKSK, TKTTF, and their relatives, have caused particularly great losses, and are poised to cause more as the disease continues to spread to new areas. The impact this disease has on human food security necessitated particular attention to the human practices aspect of our project.

We categorized our human practices work with two main objectives:

First, we reached out to individuals and groups who have been impacted by wheat rust fungus to best understand the needs of those who could benefit most from our work.

Second, since the goal of our project is to use novel agricultural technology to allow for an effective use of fungicides, we contacted various businesses and organizations that specialize in innovative agricultural methods. We specifically investigated how they manage agricultural pests and why they use such new technologies and methods.

Click on a location to learn more about our findings in the region!

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