Update: Plant Health News (31 Jul 13)

Phythophthora sojae causes root and stem rot of soybean © Daren Mueller, Iowa State University (CC BY-NC)

Phythophthora sojae causes root and stem rot of soybean © Daren Mueller, Iowa State University (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including reports of citrus greening (huanglongbing) in Paraguay, the discovery of genes resistant to Phytophthora sojae in soybeans and a computer model that gives early warning signs of crop failure.

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Two million red palm weevils removed without the use of pesticides

Adult female red palm weevil © Luigi Barraco (CC BY-SA)

Adult female red palm weevil © Luigi Barraco (CC BY-SA)

In the first half of 2013 two million red palm weevils were removed from farms in Abu Dhabi using pheromone traps. The large number of red palm weevils in the area prompted the launch of the initiative, which forms part of the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre’s (ADFSC) Integrated Pest Management project. The project was implemented in coordination with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and will run throughout the rest of 2013 and 2014. This project aims to control palm tree pests while minimising pesticide usage, by increasing the knowledge and capabilities of workers to enable them to implement the best control methods for pests.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (24 Jul 13)

Botryosphaeria dothidea causes soft brown cankers to form on many orchard fruit species © University of Georgia (CC BY)

Botryosphaeria dothidea causes a soft brown rot on many orchard fruit © University of Georgia (CC BY)

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 fruit rot caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea on European pear in Italy, the first report of soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) on tobacco in Henan, central China and the taxonomic status of the Bemisia tabaci complex with a reassessment of the number of its constituent species.

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Update: Plant Health News (16 Jul 13)

Many farmers in India have abandoned chemicals in favour of more natural pest control © CABI

Many farmers in India have abandoned chemicals in favour of more natural pest control © CABI

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including intelligent greenhouses for more efficient agriculture in Chile, pesticide free farming in India and the Global Food Security Index showing promise in developing nations.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Jul 13)

Chlorosis on tomato caused by a virus © Jari Sugano (CC BY-NC-SA)

Chlorosis on tomato caused by a virus © Jari Sugano (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 genetic diversity of Sugarcane bacilliform virus isolates infecting Saccharum in India, the occurrence of garlic rot (caused by Fusarium solani) during storage and the distribution of viruses infecting tomato and pepper in northern Benin.

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Herbicide Resistance Gene In Black-Grass and Rye-Grass Identified

Black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides), a serious weed of arable fields that is widley resistant to herbicides © Bas Kers, via Flickr (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides), a serious weed of arable fields that is widley resistant to herbicides © Bas Kers, via Flickr (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) and Syngenta funded scientists at the University of York and University of Durham have discovered a gene called AmGSTF1 that plays a key role in controlling multiple herbicide resistance in black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) and annual rye-grass (Lolium rigidum). Now the gene that confers resistance has been identified, it is hoped that chemicals that inhibit the gene may be able to be used in future to make herbicides effective against resistant weeds.

Black-grass and rye-grass are widespread weeds which cause problems in cereal and oilseed rape farming. Management using herbicides is becoming increasingly difficult since both black-grass and rye-grass can acquire a single defence mechanism that confers resistance to multiple herbicides- known as multiple herbicide resistance. The genetics of multiple herbicide resistance have been poorly understood until recently, however scientists have now discovered that a gene producing an enzyme called glutathione transferase (GST) is responsible for multiple herbicide resistance. Scientists created transgenic thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants with the GST producing gene inserted which were resistant. GSTs are known to detoxify herbicides, but project leader Professor Rob Edwards of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at the University of York believes that the gene they discovered works as a kind of ‘master switch’ that activates a range of protective mechanisms in the plant. When resistant plants with the GST gene are sprayed with GST inhibiting chemicals, they become susceptible to herbicides. This demonstrates the potential for using GST inhibiting compounds in future herbicide formulations to manage resistant rye-grass and black-grass. These weeds are currently very difficult to manage due to their widespread herbicide resistance.

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Update: Plant Health News (03 Jul 13)

Wheat showing symptoms of the virulent Ug99 race of stem rust © CIMMYT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Wheat showing symptoms of the Ug99 race of stem rust © CIMMYT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the discovery of a gene conferring resistance to the Ug99 wheat stem rust pathogen, a locust plague threatening food security in Madagascar and a research project that aims to double rice production in Africa.

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