Update: Plant Health News (01 Jul 15)

Pheromone trap in Uganda © CABI

Pheromone trap in Uganda © CABI

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including a reduction in banana yield in the Philippines due to the effects of El Niño on rainfall, a pest causing severe damage to tomato production in Nigeria and the use of pheromones to control insect pests in the field.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (24 Jun 15)

Phytophthora species cause significant damage to natural and agricultural systems © Scot Nelson, via Flickr

Phytophthora spp. cause significant damage to natural and agricultural systems © Scot Nelson, via Flickr

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 the tomato russet mite in northern Chile, Cytospora species associated with walnut canker disease in China, and globalisation, the founder effect, hybrid Phytophthora species and rapid evolution causing headaches for biosecurity.  Read more of this post

Update: Plant Health News (17 Jun 15)

Coffee cherries in Thika, Kenya, photo by Rogiro

Coffee cherries in Thika, Kenya, photo by Rogiro

Contributed by Fiona Bunn

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the development of a new App in Kenya to help farmers select climate-smart seeds to maximise production, the use of drones to boost banana grower’s productivity in Columbia and new findings about how greening disease wreaks havoc in the citrus industry.

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Increased carbon dioxide levels in air restrict plants’ ability to absorb nutrients

1.Pollution over fields- could now be a threat to plant nutrition    (Photo by Ken Douglas )

1. Pollution over fields- could now be a threat to plant nutrition (Photo by Ken Douglas)

Contributed by Fiona Bunn

A recent study from the University of Gothenburg has shown that plants that are grown in air with a higher percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) have reduced levels of nitrogen in their tissue, causing increased nitrogen deficiency and reduced growth. The study was conducted across four continents in large scale projects, and the plants showed the negative effects in all three major types of ecosystem: crops, grasslands and forests. The effects were even shown when fertiliser was applied, proving that CO2 restricts the plants’ ability to absorb the necessary nutrients, not the levels in the soil.  Read more of this post

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Jun 15)

Panama wilt has been isolated from Dwarf Cavendish bananas in Pakistan © David Jones

Panama wilt has been isolated from Dwarf Cavendish bananas in Pakistan © D. Jones

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 Panama wilt disease of banana caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense in Pakistan, the first report of dieback of olive trees caused by Neofusicoccum australe in Tunisia and the first report of Pestalotiopsis menezesiana causing leaf blight of coconut in Hainan, China. 

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Update: Plant Health News (03 Jun 15)

Coffee is one of the crops that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change © Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Coffee is one of the crops that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change © Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the use of maize to protect Colombian coffee from the effects of climate change, floods affecting rice in Kabuye, Rwanda and the role of urban farms in the fight for food security in Kenya.

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Factsheet of the month: June 2015 – Conservation of natural enemies

20147801387Friday May 22nd was 2015’s International Day for Biological Diversity.  This year’s theme was ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’ which reflected the importance of biodiversity in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Biodiversity is key in agriculture and it both promotes and is promoted by sustainable methods. Farmers rely on a range of different species for the success of their crops. This may include barrier or repellent crops to prevent pests from attacking their crop, nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil for nutrient availability, pollinators to transfer pollen between plants, and natural enemies to keep pest populations under control without the need for chemicals.

This month’s Factsheet of the Month, ‘Conservation of natural enemies of pests of vegetables‘ provides information about the role that natural enemies can play and the importance of maintaining populations of natural enemies in the field. This factsheet was written by staff from the Plant Protection Service in Sri Lanka. It is also available in Tamil and Sinhala.

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