Sunscreen for temperate crops

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British researchers have discovered how corals are able to resist harmful UV light through their relationship with algae. They have found more than 20 sun-protection compounds within corals that could be used to benefit farmers in developing countries.  The new compounds could bolster the current sun protection processes found in temperate crops to allow them…
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Update: Plant Health News (31 Aug 11)

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Here’s a taste of some of the latest news stories about plant health: Herbicide choice for high blackgrass dormancy Farmers Weekly, 30 August 2011 NZ: pest costs potato industry US$101M FreshFruitPortal.com, 30 August 2011 Banana threatened by old, new pathogens African Agriculture, 29 August 2011 Yellow leaf spot resource Australian Government Grains Research & Development Corporation, 29 August 2011…
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Pest-fighting Anthocyanins

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Illinois, USA, are investigating the role of anthocyanins in pest-control. They believe that the plant pigment can adversely affect crop pests such as the corn earworm caterpillar and the cabbage looper caterpillar that feed on it. Anthocyanins are a plant pigment which give blackcurrants and flowers, such as…
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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (24 Aug 11)

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We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Click on the links to view the abstracts. First record of black vine thrips, Retithrips syriacus Mayet, in Tunisia. Elimem, M.; Navarro-Campos, C.; Chermiti, B. (2011) Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 41 (2), 174-177. Ditylenchus gigas…
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Microwaved Pests: A new recipe for success?

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Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) are currently exploring the use of microwaves as a potential pest control method.  Unlike traditional chemical pesticides, which indiscriminately kill all insects, microwaves would be able to target specific insect pests and not affect other insects in the area. This new application of microwaves could benefit farmers in…
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Maize’s New Protector: Parasitic Wasps

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Certain maize landraces obtained from South America have been found to have developed sophisticated defence strategies to cope with insect pests such as the spotted stemborer, Chilo partellus, it was reported today. These findings could help to increase maize yields and improve food security. The spotted stemborer, Chilo partellus, is now a major pest in…
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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Aug 11)

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We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Click on the links to view the abstracts. A new species and new record of Eriophyoidea (Acari: Prostigmata) from Cuba. Torre Santana, P. E. de la (2011) Systematic and Applied Acarology 16 (2), 176-180.…
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Cotton Topping Reduces Pests

Cotton topping has been reported to reduce bollworm infestations without negatively affecting cotton yields. Scientists in Mali looked at three bollworm species, which are responsible for the majority of cotton yield losses in sub-Saharan areas of Africa, where topping is no longer employed. Cotton topping is an agricultural technique in which the shoot tips of…
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Update: Plant Health News (4 Aug 11)

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Here’s a taste of some of the latest news stories about plant health: Researchers know their onions… NFU, 3 August 2011 Cotton ‘topping’ cuts bollworm infestations, study finds SciDev Net, 2 August 2011 Crop grazing shows promise as disease tool Grains Research and Development Corporation, 1 August 2011 EU sees the light on Epitrix NFU, 1 August 2011…
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Cucumber Mosaic Virus Stopped By Slicing

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Source: Scot Nelson, Flickr CC-licensed Food security can be compromised by a combination of different factors related to the environment, such as the current drought in East Africa. It can also be negatively impacted upon by insect pests that may migrate into new regions, or by native pests that have widened their feeding habits or…
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