How Rain Can Spread Pathogens

Rainfall can help spread pathogens from an infected plant to healthy ones. This transfer can happen both through droplets and by dry-dispersal of pathogen spores (top). When a raindrop hits a leaf, its initial spread triggers a vortex ring of air that can lift thousands of dry spores into a swirling trajectory (bottom). That boost in height carries spores beyond the slower wind speeds of the plant’s boundary layer and into faster air streams that disperse it toward healthy plants. (Image and research credit: S. Kim et al.)

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