Modeling nutrient and disease dynamics in a plant-pathogen system

Bruce Pell, Amy E. Kendig, Elizabeth T. Borer, Yang Kuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Human activities alter elemental nutrient cycling, which can have profound impacts on agriculture, grasslands, lakes, and other systems. It is becoming increasingly clear that enhanced nitrogen and phosphorus levels can affect disease dynamics across a range of taxa. However, there are few mathematical models that explicitly incorporate nutrients into host-pathogen interactions. Using viral load and plant mass data from an experiment with cereal yellow dwarf virus and its host plant, Avena sativa, we propose and compare two models describing the overall infection dynamics. However, the first model considers nutrient-limited virus production while the other considers a nutrient-induced viral production delay. A virus reproduction number is derived for this nutrient model, which depends on environmental and physiological attributes. Results suggest that including nutrient mediated viral production mechanisms can give rise to robust models that can be used to untangle how nutrients impact pathogen dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-264
Number of pages31
JournalMathematical Biosciences and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend and colleague, Professor Val H. Smith, who passed away on April 2, 2016. Val is a pioneer of resource ratio theory and ecological stoichiometry. We would also like to thank Eric Seabloom, Melissa Rudeen, Christelle Lacroix, Tashina Picard, Emily Boak, and multiple undergraduate researchers at UMN for their contributions to experimental design and procedures. The research of Yang Kuang is partially supported by NSF grant DMS-1615879.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Laser and Optoelectronics Progress.All rights reserved.


  • cereal yellow dwarf viruses
  • delay differential equation
  • disease ecology
  • droop equation
  • within-host
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Plant Diseases/virology
  • Nitrogen/chemistry
  • Poaceae
  • Carbon/chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Phloem
  • Virion
  • Phosphorus/chemistry
  • Phycodnaviridae
  • Nutrients
  • Chlorella/virology

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Journal Article


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