Research scientist Harry Mbah has been awarded the UK's first PhD studying environment-related stress and its effects on turf plants. Funded by Syngenta and Harper Adams University College, with research support from STRI, the work will be an important step in providing practical solutions for turf managers.
The UK's first PhD looking specifically at environment-related stress in fine turf, and identifying potential techniques for turf managers to alleviate the effects on surface quality, has been announced by Syngenta and Harper Adams University College, in association with STRI. Harry Mbah, who has recently completed his MSc at the University of Nottingham, will begin his three-year study this spring.
Dr Ruth Mann, Head of Turf Protection at STRI, believes the underlying impacts of environmental induced stress may be having a profound effect on turf plant health, along with its ability to utilise water and nutrients resources to maintain quality. "An in-depth study into environment-related stress symptoms, and the associated physiological and biochemical changes within turf plants, will provide us with the real opportunity to evaluate options to mitigate the effects.
"The creation and funding of a turf-specific PhD study is an exciting and important development to focus turf plant physiology knowledge on the commercially important fescue, bent and ryegrass species used in sports turf management," she added.
Dr Simon Watson of Syngenta reported trials experience in crop species and the comments of UK turf managers highlighted that plant protection products can have significant beneficial physiological effect on turf plants "Harry's scientific research will enable us to understand exactly what is happening, to quantify the benefit and to help provide the advice and practical solutions for turf managers to get the best possible results, particularly with Heritage Maxx and Primo Maxx applications," he said. "We are very pleased to have initiated and helped to fund an important turf-specific PhD that will utilise strong science to develop practical solutions."
Mr Mbah's research will be based at Harper Adams University College, along with work at the STRI and within the industry through Syngenta links.
Dr John Reade of Harper Adams University College added: "We are able to offer Harry some of the most advanced educational research facilities and support which, combined with the outstanding specialist knowledge and advice from STRI, will help him to formulate an extremely valuable investigation and evaluation to provide answers for the turf industry. This is an important continuation in our ongoing research and knowledge creation in plant physiology and its practical implication for turf and crop managers."