CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Aerial Dispersal of Pollen and Spore

By Donald E. Aylor
American Phytopathological Society Press, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-89054-542-3
Hardback, 418 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches
Images: 69 color and 135 b/w
$197.50 from APS Press

Disease spread is a hot topic right now. Understanding how infectious agents move around is key to protecting our agricultural crops, livestock, and indeed all of humanity. The topic has always been at the forefront of mycological research, ever since the 1700s when Pier Antonio Micheli first announced the link between tiny spores and the spread of fungi. The dispersal of pollen and spores by wind is central to some of the biggest challenges in science today, such as the spread of food-supply-threatening plant diseases; the rapid and widespread adoption of genetically modified (GM) plants in agriculture and their potential for pollen-mediated gene flow in the environment; and the presence and role of bioaerosols in cloud processes.

Aerial Dispersal of Pollen and Spores is a huge, comprehensive 432-page reference covering the many complex factors and effects encompassing the movement of spores through the air. It synthesizes material scattered across the literature of multiple disciplines in one single place—and adds many insights through new research in this important area of study. This book explains the biophysical processes that control the dispersal of particles in the atmosphere and provides scientists in this area of study with many new and valuable perspectives that can be applied to their research and to understanding models behind the spread of pathogens and genetic material in the atmosphere. The author, Donald E. Aylor, is nationally and internationally recognized, with more than 40 years of experience modeling and conducting experiments in aerobiology with a variety of crops and pathogens.

During my years as a doctoral student in plant pathology (and since), I’ve seen many texts on the subject of aerobiology and I have to say that Aerial Dispersal of Pollen and Spores is the best and most comprehensive text, currently available. This book is not for the casual reader. But for researchers, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates in the fields of plant pathology, plant biology, meteorology, agronomy, and agricultural engineering this book will uniquely serve as a valuable reference. This monumental work by Aylor covers dozens of topics within the study of pollen and spore dispersal, such as the physical properties, forces, and processes affecting pollen and spores—in motion and at rest; pollen and spore survival; infection and fertilization efficiency; wind and wind transport models; cross fertilization; pollen mediated gene flow; precision agriculture practices applied to aerially dispersed pathogens; infectious periods and opportunity for disease spread; aerial sampling, and more. For interested readers, you can see much more of the content and sample pages at

— Review by Britt Bunyard
— Originally published in Fungi