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

CABI’s Dr Julie Flood becomes President of British Society for Plant Pathology

Contributed by Rachel Winks, CABI.

Dr Julie Flood, CABI’s Senior Global Director for Commodities, became President of the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) on 1 January 2016. This is a 12-month post that follows on from her role as Vice-President in 2014 and President Elect in 2015. BSPP was founded in 1981 for the advancement of plant pathology – the study of organisms that cause diseases in plants. Dr Flood was one of the founding members of the society.
Dr Julie Flood
Dr Julie Flood

With growing demands on global food and commodity crop production, it is becoming increasingly important to share plant health information. Each year, the BSPP President holds an event bringing together leading scientists from the UK and overseas to discuss current issues about plant pathology. As part of her new role, Dr Flood will lead the presidential meeting. The theme will be ‘Food security, biosecurity and trade; the role of plant health’, and will be held at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, in September 2016. Continue reading

UK Needs Increase In Agriculture Graduates To Tackle Global Food Security

Giving children the opportunity to learn more about insects at a young age may create the interest and enthusiasm required for a subsequent career in entomology. Photo taken at Penn State's Great Insect Fair, 2012 hosted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences' Entomology Department © Penn State (CC-BY-NC 2.0)
Giving children the opportunity to learn more about insects at a young age may create the interest and enthusiasm required for a subsequent career in entomology. Photo taken at Penn State’s Great Insect Fair, 2012 hosted by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ Entomology Department © Penn State (CC-BY-NC 2.0)

Increasing the production of food in an environmentally sustainable way is a major global issue. A report produced by the UK Cabinet Office in 2008 predicted that the global population will rise to 9 billion by 2050 from a current 6.8 billion. This increase in population will substantially increase demand for food, with food production needing to increase by 70% in the next 40 years whilst using the same agricultural footprint and without depleting natural resources. This challenge will require collaboration between universities, research institutes and industry in order to make the considerable advances in technology required to feed a growing population. There is now increasing concern that there are too few specialist graduates in the UK with the expert knowledge and skills required to tackle the issues surrounding global food security.

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