Improving food security by reducing loss to plant pathogens

Grantham Scholar Christian Dutton investigated the relationship between the number of plant stomata and disease and infection. 

The project

Plant diseases cause substantial global crop losses. Many prolific agricultural pathogens enter plants through microscopic pores in the leaf surface used by the plant to breathe, known as stomata.

In this project, plants that have been engineered to have more, or fewer stomata will be used to help us understand the relationship between the number of stomata a plant has, and how susceptible it is to disease and infestation by pathogens.

Results will be transferred from model plant species to crop by studying Arabidopsis and tomato species. This knowledge will allow us to create more disease tolerant crops.


In 2016 Chris and 3 other University of Sheffield science researchers won the nationwide Environment YES innovation competition. Find our more: University of Sheffield team wins entrepreneur competition.

The impact of genetically modified crops by Chris Dutton. Chris reflects on the issues surrounding genetically modified crops.