Plantwise at Comptoir Suisse 2016

Contributed by Julien Dougoud, CABI Switzerland

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Comptoir Suisse, one of French-speaking Switzerland’s most popular trade fairs, took place from 10th to 19th September in Lausanne. Over 106,000 visitors attended the fair, where about 450 exhibitors were presenting their goods and services to the Swiss public. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) showcased some of its development projects and CABI was invited to present its Plantwise programme with a live plant clinic demonstration.

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Plantwise showcases open access Knowledge Bank at global open data summit

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Dr Nicholls addressing the GODAN Summit; © Diana Szpotowicz

Last week, CABI and Plantwise representatives attended the GODAN Summit in New York, the largest event ever planned for open data in agriculture and nutrition. It brought together key stakeholders from around the world to consider how open data can help achieve Zero Hunger – one of the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG2).

Speaking at the opening session of the Summit on the 15th September, CABI CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls, called for action. “As a GODAN partner and donor we know the importance of building core GODAN principles into what we do as well as what we say. We cannot remain still. Innovation is essential.”

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Grand Challenges – inspiring next generation plant pathologists

Julie Flood, Phil Taylor and Claire Beverley attended the ‘Grand Challenges in Plant Pathology study group’ event at the Doctoral Training Centre, University of Oxford, 14-16 September. The event was the first of its kind, aiming to engage and inspire the next generation of plant pathologists.

Biotechnology lab The event was sponsored by the British Society of Plant Pathology (BSPP), the American Phytopathological Society (APS) and CABI, and saw 5 real problems posed by industry and non-academic organisations to a group of 27 young scientists, post-docs and graduate students, in all aspects of plant pathology and plant sciences.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (21 Sep 16)

Bemisia tabaci (MED) (silverleaf whitefly); two adults on a watermelon leaf (Public Domain Image)
Bemisia tabaci (MED) (silverleaf whitefly); two adults on a watermelon leaf (Public Domain Image)

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 occurrence of stem canker on oilseed rape caused by Leptosphaeria biglobosa in Serbia, three new additions to the grass (Poaceae) flora of Manipur, India and a new record of the Bemisia tabaci Q biotype in Tibet, China.

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Plantwise partners hone their pathology skills during UK training course

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Course participants learn diagnostic techniques in CABI’s Egham lab. Credit: M Rutherford, CABI

For the fourth successive year, CABI UK Centre staff in June ran a four day training course on Techniques in Plant Pathology. Through lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions, the course provided a comprehensive overview of methods used for diagnosing plant health problems and for isolating, culturing and identifying fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses and phytoplasmas as causal organisms. This year, as in 2015, the primary aim of the course was to support the development of diagnostic capacity within the Plantwise programme. As such, all participants were carefully selected from 19 Plantwise partner countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and Latin America. The majority are actively involved in Plantwise activities within their respective countries, and some are already providing diagnostic assistance directly to plant clinics or through provision of laboratory-based diagnoses and pest identifications. To provide a practical management perspective, participants also received some insight on the key characteristics of high impact pests they are likely to encounter in their work and how these are best tackled in the field. Feedback from all participants, who immensely enjoy the course and their time in the UK, has been extremely positive. Continue reading

South American tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta, reported in Nepal for the first time

South American tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), has been reported in a tomato farm for the first time in Nepal and the presence has been confirmed in five districts, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kavrepalanchowk and Dhading district. Studies carried out by the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) in May and June this year have identified and confirmed the presence of the pest in 14 locations in the five districts mentioned above. The highest infestation was identified in two districts, Ugrachandi Nala-2 and Panchakhal of Kavrepalanchowk district.

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T. absoluta damage on tomato. Copyright: Peter Kodwaran, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF), Kenya

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Making the most of the knowledge bank: super searching

site-searchIn the first post in this series about making the most of the Plantwise knowledge bank , we wrote about how to effectively search for content. I’m now here to tell you that we’d barely scratched the surface of smart searching! In this post we will delve further into effective searching, covering Boolean searches, word stemming and metadata.  Continue reading