Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Curse Of Witches Brooms Disease Raises Fears For World Chocolate Production

25.06.2004


UK scientists are warning that world chocolate production could fall dramatically if diseases, which have devastated South American cultivation of cacao over the past 15 years (the raw material used for producing chocolate), were to spread to some of the world’s other cacao producing regions.

Writing in the Summer 2004 edition of Biologist, Dr Gareth Griffith of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth warns that increased trade and improved transport links between South America and other cacao growing countries could allow fungal infections such as Witches’ Broom Disease and Frosty Pod Disease to spread to these hitherto uninfected areas. Alone and in combination these diseases can cause near total crop failure.

The recent spread of other fungal pathogens such as sudden oak death (caused by Phytophthora ramorum) highlights the fact that global trade is not risk-free. Formal risk assessments need to be conducted to minimise the spread of plant pathogens.



Whilst chocolate lovers around the world may despair at the prospect, the effect of the diseases on the cacao growing communities themselves has been devastating. According to Dr Griffiths, accidental assistance from humans has been instrumental in the spread of the disease around South America. The rapid spread of the disease from Surinam to Ecuador and Trinidad in the early 20th century was probably due to transport of superficially healthy but infected cacao pods. In each of these countries arrival of the disease led to a halving of cocoa production within a decade.

“In the 1970s, extensive deforestation and oil exploration in Amazonian Ecuador, encouraged farmers to migrate across the Andes, bringing the disease with them.,. Similar developments in Brazil led to the establishment of cacao plantations in Amazonia and the inevitable occurrence of the disease. Disastrously, expertise in cacao cultivation for these new plantations was imported from the main Brazilian cocoa area in Bahia on the Atlantic coast and, ultimately the disease spread to Bahia by these migrating workers” said Dr Griffith.

“In Bahia, where the first incidence of the disease was observed in 1989, the ravages of WBD have been worse than in any of the other infected regions. A large area centred upon the town of Ilheus, which was built on the wealth of cacao plantations, has suffered economic devastation. It is estimated that 200,000 people were put out of work, with a further two million people being indirectly affected. Knock on effects have included a soaring crime rate and extensive rural depopulation, though in recent years there are some signs of recovery due to the planting of more tolerant cacao varieties.”

“The great fear is that improved travel links, especially direct air and sea travel between tropical countries by both people and cargo, could lead to the spread of Witches Broom Disease to countries such as the Ghana where cacao generates a large proportion of national GDP. We need to learn from past mistakes” he added.

Witches’ Brooms Disease is so named because the growing parts of the cacao tree become swollen and branched, giving the appearance of a witches broom. It is caused by the pathogen Crinipellis perniciosa, and despite a century of research, no truly effective control strategy has been devised.

Arthur Dafis | alfa
Further information:
http://www.aber.ac.uk

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp
24.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

nachricht Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>