Researchers from the Galician Institute of High Energy Physics (IGFAE) at USC Jhony Ramírez, Carlos Pajares and Ricardo Rodríguez, in collaboration with physicists and biologists from the Universities of Puebla in Mexico, devoloped a model that has been highlighted in Physical Review E. The publication opens the March issue with this work and the American Physical Society publishes in its Physics journal an outreach article, together with other articles other publications.

The research studies how to prevent the spread of the pathogen Phytophora infection that attacks various plants and trees, such as chilies, avocados, potatos, chestnuts and eucalyptus. The researchers describe a plantation as a 2D lattice and model a disease transmission as a filtration process. Then, they described how the pathogen move through the lattice as a function of plant susceptibility and the the initial proportion of infection in the soil and in the plants. Thus, they calculate the minimum the number of barriers per plant that would be sufficient to halt the propagation of the disease.

The barriers normally used are waterproof polyethylene membranes or trenches with biological control agents. The calculation algorithms were built based on the percolation theory that is intensively applied at IGFAE to Particle Physics problems such as the release of quarks and gluons produced in heavy nuclei collisions.

Referencia: J. E. Ramírez, C. Pajares, M. I. Martínez, R. Rodríguez Fernández, E. Molina-Gayosso, J. Lozada-Lechuga, and A. Fernández Téllez. Site-bond percolation solution to preventing the propagation of Phytophthora zoospores on plantations. Phys. Rev. E 101, 032301