Plantwise 2011 Highlights

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As we get stuck into the New Year and look forward to all that 2012 has to offer, it seems an ideal time to take stock of all that Plantwise achieved in 2011. So, here are some of our highlights!
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Anti-Terror Measures Allow Pest Explosion

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Since 9/11 the number of invasive pests and plant diseases managing to slip into the USA has risen dramatically. Border checkpoints normally act as a first line of defence against these pests and diseases, however the increased emphasis on anti-terrorism measures has led to agricultural issues being ignored. This costs the USA a staggering $120…
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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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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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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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Do you like your coffee wilted?

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According to CABI’s Peter Baker at the recent ISEAL Conference the International coffee community may be failing farmers in providing them with support in adapting to upcoming climate risks. Changes in the climate can have dire consequences for farmers within developing countries. They can change the distribution ranges of insect pests, causing pests to migrate into…
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New global plant health resource to improve food security

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From the devastating Coffee Wilt Disease to the infectious Wheat Stripe Rust: for the first time ever, distribution maps, diagnostic support and treatment advice for thousands of the world’s most damaging pests and diseases of plants and crops are being made available free of charge on the new Plantwise website, www.plantwise.org, launched today. The Plantwise…
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State of severe food insecurity in Africa

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On the 7 July the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) announced that an appeal to help more that 10 million people in east Africa, suffering from their worst drought in over half a century, would be broadcast on ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4 and Channel 5. 
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CABI publishes third working paper

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CABI’s own, Matthew Cock, covers strategic entry points for funding taxonomic support to agriculture in developing countries in the third working paper published by CABI. The importance of taxonomy to agriculture is discussed, with emphasis on how to address the need for taxonomic support in developing countries. One of the subjects explored by this paper…
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