In 2011, CABI scientists helped to discover new occurrences of disease-causing phytoplasmas and fungi in Africa, Asia and Oceania. Our scientists, based in Egham in southeast England, provide the Plantwise diagnostic service free of charge to developing countries to support the plant clinics, which give advice to farmers with plant health problems. They work in collaboration with scientists from other institutions around the world to diagnose diseases that can’t be identified in the country that the diseases are found.
As farmers monitor their crops for pests and diseases, new discoveries are being made all the time. New species of pest are found, known pests pop up in a new place or find homes on new plant species. Increased globalisation has facilitated the spread of many pests; more complex trade and travel networks have led to more opportunities for pests to hitch a ride to a new place. Changes in climate can also change the suitability of regions to pests, leading to a spread to locations not previously threatened. When it has been confirmed that a pest has been found in a new place or on a new plant host, our scientists publish their report in a peer-reviewed journal such as New Disease Reports to communicate their findings to the wider scientific community. The following records are those co-authored by CABI scientists in 2011. Continue reading →
Native to Mexico, the papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) is controlled in its home range by endemic natural enemies, like the parasitoid Acerophagus papayae. When the papaya mealybug invaded a number of countries in the neotropical region, including the Caribbean, US and parts of South America, encyrtid parasitoids (in particular A. papayae) were introduced to control these pest outbreaks. While these earlier invasions have been managed using biological control methods, the papaya mealybug has still spread to the oriental region, critically damaging papaya crops. In an attempt to restrain the effects of the papaya mealybug studies have been conducted across the region, leading to a recent report that the pest has now spread to Malaysia.