Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Illinois pumpkin fields face cunning opponent

29.06.2010
Wet conditions have Illinois pumpkin growers on the alert for signs of Phytophthora blight in their fields. This disease nearly destroyed the pumpkin industry in 1999, causing up to 100 percent crop losses in parts of the state. While it's not a new disease to this industry, it is the most devastating and it's already showing up in Illinois.

Mohammad Babadoost, University of Illinois Extension specialist in fruit and vegetable pathology, said, "An outbreak of Phytophthora blight in Illinois could devastate most of the country's supply of processed pumpkins and other cucurbit crops in Illinois."

Illinois-grown processing pumpkins account for nearly 95 percent of the pumpkins grown in the United States for use in pies, breads, and other foods. Illinois has approximately 25,000 acres of processing and jack-o-lantern pumpkins with a gross value exceeding $160 million per year. Not only is it the biggest vegetable industry in the state, it's also a great source of agrotourism drawing huge crowds to choose jack-o-lantern pumpkins from fields each fall.

This disease caused by Phytophthora capsici affects all cucurbits and peppers. Cucurbits include pumpkins, watermelon, honeydew, squash, zucchini, cucumbers and other vine vegetables. This disease affects both commercial and home gardeners, he said.

"Despite our attempts to prevent Phytophthora blight from spreading, it is doing exactly that," Babadoost said. "It's a nasty pathogen. I've seen it destroy entire fields. Once the fruit is infected, it's not suitable to process, eat, or carve."

This disease can infect the foliage or fruit at any stage of development. In fields, infections typically appear first in low areas where the soil remains wet for longer periods of time. Fruit rot generally starts on the area of the fruit that is in contact with the soil.

Babadoost and fellow researchers have devised an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to minimizing the devastation of this disease. In fact, in the past 10 years, they've been able to reduce crop loss from an average of 30 percent loss per year to less than 10 percent loss per year.

"To prevent this disease, we recommend crop rotation of three years or longer with non-host crops, followed by seed treatment and routine scouting, especially of low areas in fields," Babadoost said. "Management of this disease requires serious, intensive work by growers, processing companies and Extension personnel. In general, no single method provides adequate control."

If Phytophthora blight is observed and localized, Babadoost recommends disking the area of infected plants to prevent the entire loss of a field. Fungicides can also be applied by commercial growers if there is no standing water in the fields. If growers choose to irrigate from a pond, it's important to make sure the pond does not contain run-off from an infested field as the pathogen may be present in the run-off for the whole season.

"This disease is greatly affected by moisture," he said. "The best way to prevent it is to keep the site as dry as possible. Home gardeners should water plants in the morning so the plants can dry throughout the day."

Pumpkins are important to Illinois, making disease prevention and monitoring crucial, Babadoost said. He remains in close contact with growers and industry representatives in order to keep diseases like this one under control.

"When the pumpkin industry experiences loss, it affects our state's economy and the people of Illinois," Babadoost said. "But more important, this is a unique crop that has value beyond dollars and cents. It's an educational and recreational crop. Any field that draws thousands of visitors every day to view it, such as popular Illinois pumpkin patches in the fall, carries significance beyond its market price."

This information on Phytophthora blight, "Fruit rots of pumpkin: A serious threat to the pumpkin industry," was published in Plant Disease. Authors included Mohammad Babadoost of the U of I and Thomas Zitter of Cornell University.

Jennifer Shike | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>