Update: Plant Health News (03 Feb 16)

Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)
Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the new parasitic wasp that can detect aphid infestation, the effect that El Niño will have on avocado in Peru and the threat of Huanglongbing (HLB) on agriculture in Colombia.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!

Continue reading

Feasibility of adopting an IPM approach for sustainable Christophene production in the Northern Range of Trinidad

plantwiseTT_14Contributed by Aldo Hanel, CABI. 

Brasso Secco is a pristine environment located in the Northern Range of Trinidad in close proximity to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. This farming community, among others, is nestled deep in the bosom of the of the Northern Range where approximately 300 family farms depend on Christophene production for their economic survival and well-being. Agriculture, and in particular “Christo” as the crop is fondly called, is the main source of income to more than 75% of them. Any major pest or disease could be devastating not only to the livelihood of these families, but also to the country’s environment if its control results in the inappropriate use of pesticides.

An outbreak of Gummy Stem Blight occurred 11 years ago and the disease is now endemic, affecting 100 percent of farms. Could an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy be adopted to control this fungal disease and to protect the livelihoods of farmers while protecting this pristine environment? Continue reading

Factsheet of the month: February 2016 – Rotation against purple seed stain in soya

20167800029At the beginning of January, a new research centre opened in Benin, which aims to boost productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers, and create job opportunities. Researchers based at the Green Innovation Center, which has been funded by the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will develop tools for training and improve frameworks for collaboration and innovation with the ultimate goal of improving farmer livelihoods.

Initially, the centre will focus on pastoral agriculture, rice and soybeans, which are both important nutritional crops and key commodities in the area. Soybeans are particularly high in protein, a macronutrient which is still lacking in many diets in Subsaharan Africa. However, like all crops it is susceptible to numerous pests and diseases. This month’s factsheet of the month focuses on Purple Stain of soybean. This disease is caused by the fungus Cercospora kikuchii which causes seeds to turn purple and affects the price that they fetch on the market. Continue reading

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (27 Jan 16)

Alternaria species can cause foliar disease of muskmelon © Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Bugwood.org
Alternaria species can cause foliar disease of muskmelon © Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Bugwood.org

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the antifungal activities of Chaetomium spp. against Fusarium wilt of tea, the characterization of Alternaria species associated with muskmelon foliar diseases in Beijing municipality of China, and the first report of Cyrtanthus elatus virus A in Narcissus tazetta in India.
Continue reading

Update: Plant Health News (20 Jan 16)

Scientists are studying a number of wild banana varieties to help in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International
Wild bananas could be key in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the wild bananas that could help overcome TR4 Panama disease, the effect of El Niño on potato crops in Peru and the farmers in Tanzania who are being urged to grown drought resistant crops.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!

Continue reading

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (13 Jan 16)

Iphimeis dives beetle has been found on beans in western Parana State, Brazil © Carlos Simioni (CC BY-NC-SA)
Iphimeis dives beetle, as found on beans in Parana State, Brazil © Carlos Simioni (CC BY-NC-SA)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of Tomato spotted wilt virus of potato in Korea, Iphimeis dives (Crysomelidae) beetle occurrence in beans in the western Parana State of Brazil and the first report of Beet yellows virus (BYV) on sugar beet in Croatia.

Continue reading

Climate-friendly rice wins 2015 Popular Science award

rice paddy
Wetland rice fields are prolific producers of methane © Helidixon, CC BY-NC-ND

A new strain of low-methane rice has won Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New” award 2015 for engineering. The new kind of rice, known as SUSIBA2, has been developed by splicing a single gene from barley into rice plants to reduce the amount of methane the rice produces and, ultimately, the amount released into the environment. The single inserted gene does this by altering the transport of carbon within the rice plant. Instead of taking its usual path to the roots, where methane-producing bacteria are found, carbon in SUSIBA2 rice is redirected to the grains and leaves. This has the added benefit of increasing the starch levels and yield of the rice. SUSIBA2 rice has performed well in field trials and will now be assessed for commercial viability.  Continue reading