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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Yellow Rust Adds to Famine Worries

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Source: allafrica.com In terms of food security the big story recently is that two regions of southern Somalia are in the midst of a famine. More than 10 million people are currently at risk of starvation with 1.8 million people displaced in East Africa’s worst drought for 60 years. Ethiopia and Kenya are neighbouring food…
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The life and travels of Tuta absoluta, the tomato leaf miner

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The pesky tomato pest, Tuta absoluta, has decided in recent years that it wants to see a little more of the world. This moth is native to Peru and is probably widespread in all countries in South America, but in the last 5 years the pest has also been found in the Mediterranean, spreading at…
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