Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Christmas dinners depend on control of plant diseases worldwide

15.12.2006
The British Society for Plant Pathology are asking you to spare a thought this Christmas for how plant diseases caused by pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses could affect your celebrations.

Why? Because the 12,000 tonnes or so of potatoes eaten have to be protected against the devastating potato blight, likewise Brussels sprouts from ring spot and white blister, carrots from cavity spot. Even the stuffing is under threat with blight of chestnut trees. Less obvious accompaniments include the wine (grape mildew), beer (barley mildew), coffee (coffee rust), and if there is any room left after the meal, the chocolates are from cocoa bushes that survived or were protected from the well-named witches broom or black pod diseases.

These “basics” are all taken for granted but are only there by controlling a whole range of diseases. Also our homes really wouldn’t be complete at Christmas without the ‘trimmings’ of 7.5 million conifer trees, potentially susceptible to Dothistroma needle blight; this would cause needles to drop even before you collected the tree! These comments apply of course to any meal, celebratory or not and is applicable worldwide. Many cultures are heavily dependent on rice for example, which succumbs to Magnaporthe rice blast, arguably of equivalent importance in those producing countries to potato blight. Our research makes sure that only high quality produce, free from diseases, makes it into your home and onto your plate.

2006 sees the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) celebrating 25 years. 700 hundred members from 50 countries around the world help lead the fight to control thousands of diseases, many of which have the capacity to devastate crops wherever they are grown. But the subject is much older than 25 years and diseases have frequently changed the course of history. The potato famine of 1845 resulted in the death of over 1 million people in Ireland, and America would certainly not have such an extensive Irish–American community without the mass exodus from Ireland during this period. Also Britain would probably not be a nation of tea drinkers if coffee rust had not wiped out the coffee bushes of Ceylon in 1869 leading to replacement by tea. More recently our landscape has been radically changed by Dutch elm disease and new diseases threaten oaks, alder and some conifers. However, most damage is still caused in developing countries where plant pathologists can help achieve the Millennium Development Goal to eradicate extreme hunger through improved food security and famine. Major epidemics are still threatening the livelihoods and food supply of many communities with swollen shoot of cocoa in West Africa, cassava mosaic virus and coffee wilt in East Africa and banana bacterial wilt in Central Africa; all have major impacts on national economies and in turn the livelihoods of those in most need.

So plant pathologists not only protect your Christmas lunch but more importantly help the developing world to survive, by providing nutrition and to thrive through providing income. In developed countries pathologists strive to control disease with more environmentally friendly and sustainable methods, such as preventing accidental introductions, finding and using natural genes for resistance and employing benign microrganisms against those that cause disease.

So please remember during this festive period, plant pathology is not just for Christmas!

Lucy Mansfield | alfa
Further information:
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/press/pressitem.asp?ref=1023

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA flights gauge summer sea ice melt in the Arctic

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

New map may lead to drug development for complex brain disorders, USC researcher says

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>