Update: New Pest & Disease Records (07 September 18)

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This months pest alerts include a report on a new species of Colletotrichum causing anthracnose of chili in the Philippines (© Pexels)

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 Croicidolomia binotalis as a serious pest of Brassica vegetables in Kashmir, India; a new species of Anagyrus from China and a new species of Colletotrichum causing anthracnose of chili in the Philippines. Continue reading

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (07 August 18)

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August pest alerts contain the first report of avocado sunblotch viroid (ASBVd) naturally infecting avocado in Greece (© Pexels)

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 avocado sunblotch viroid (ASBVd) naturally infecting avocado in Greece, the first report of Dasheen mosaic virus infecting taro in Ethiopia and the first record of Cryptochetidae from Turkey.   Continue reading

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (19 July 18)

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July pest alerts contains a report on Alternaria alternaria, the causal agent of leaf blight on sunflower in South Africa (© Pexels)

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 thrips from India, the description of a new species of PolycestaDejean from Chile and a report on the causal agent of leaf blight on sunflower in South Africa.

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NextGen Cassava Improving Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Unhealthy cassava leaves (© CABI)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has paired with the UK Government to award the Next Generation (NextGen) Cassava Breeding Project $35 million with the aim of promoting the growth of cassava crops and to improve food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Lead Battery Soil Contamination in Africa and the Implications on Plant and Human Health

Globally, battery manufacturing and recycling plants have been identified as the major sources of soil lead contamination that have resulted in lead exposure to neighbouring communities via the accumulation of lead within plants.

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Masai child next to Opuntia stricta (© CABI)

Lead is naturally found in soil in relatively low concentrations (10-50 mg/kg) in which it is taken up by plants via the roots and accumulates within root cells as lead is used in low levels by plants. Excessive lead concentrations found within plants have been shown to reduce the functionality of morphological, biochemical and physiological functions as well as promoting deleterious effects. For more detailed information on the effects of lead on plant health, see here.

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Shifting gears: expansion of e-plant clinics in Kenya

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid!”  Passionate words spoken in 2014 during an indelible Oscar moment. The utterance of these words, coupled with the winning of an Academy Award, announced Lupita Nyong’o’s entry into the global stage. Two years later in Lupita’s country of origin, Kenya, long-held dreams in the plant health sector are realized.

Plant doctors (in green lab coats) attending to farmers at Kithumu plant clinic in Embu County

Indeed, the journey to realizing the usefulness of mobile technologies for the plant health sector has been long, and to some extent treacherous. Was the Plantwise program setting up the agricultural extension officers for failure? Was the program having unrealistic expectations? Could it be, in the program’s quest to keep up with the times, it was essentially building an ivory tower? All these were questions Plantwise grappled with in 2014 when it introduced mobile technologies for the running of plant clinics.

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Cabbage disease mystery in Ghana

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Cabbage © iStock images

Cabbage is an important crop in Ghana where it grows all year round, right across the country. It is mainly grown for commercial production in Southern Ghana, in Akwapim and Kwahu areas and in the moist high elevations around Tarkwa.

Growing cabbage in Ghana is challenging since it can be attacked by a variety of pests, such as cabbage aphids, caterpillars, cabbage webworm, diamondback moth, mole cricket, snails and rodents. Worldwide, aphids are a major concern because they commonly spread plant-infecting viruses. These are often diagnosed as turnip mosaic virus and cauliflower mosaic virus, particularly in Europe and the US, according to Dr John Carr, University of Cambridge, UK (Phys.org, 2017).

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