November 27, 2009

Phytophthora ramorum hits larch, beech, birch and oak trees in South West

Writing about web page

The Forestry Commission is investigating a new outbreak of Phytophthora ramorum on Japanese larch, Western hemlock, beech, birch and oaks in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

January 06, 2009

Blight fears spark call for GM potato

Writing about web page

A genetically modified variety of spud may have to be produced in Irish laboratories because of the growing threat from potato blight caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans.


The fungal disease that wiped out the potato crop in the mid-19th century, causing more than 1m deaths, is posing a renewed menace after a more aggressive strain arrived, according to a leading scientist. This has prompted experts to intensify work, including using GM technology, to find a blight-resistant variety.

November 03, 2008

Pesticide ban 'threat to farming'

Follow-up to Effective chemicals may be lost contd. from Plant Diseases in the News

Plans for a new European Parliament law banning many pesticides would seriously affect growers, a National Farmers Union (NFU) spokesman said.


"We could lose 80% of pesticides currently available and this would end commercial production of many horticultural crops," he said.

See also:

Pesticide ban 'threat to farming'  - BBC News 1 November 2008

National Farmers Union

Pesticide Action Network

Dog curb over tree killer disease

Follow-up to Killer disease from the US strikes at heart of oaks continued from Plant Diseases in the News

Restrictions on dog owners and their pets have been introduced in a park after the spread of a plant and tree-killing disease.


Cefn Onn park in Thornhill, Cardiff, has been struck by Phytophthora ramorum, or sudden oak death, which has attacked its rhododendrons.

See also:

'Dog curb over tree-killer disease' - BBC News Wales 31 October 2008

' Park second Wales target for tree blight' - Wales Online 31 October 2008

October 22, 2008

Electronic nose sniffs out plant pests

Just by sniffing the air, an electronic nose can tell when cucumber and capsicum pepper plants are damaged – and even diagnose the problem.

The electronic nose can distinguish the aroma of a plant damaged by tobacco hornworm caterpillar infection to one infested by spider mites or physically damaged by a hole punch (Images: whiskymac, Myrmi, Randomduck)

The gadget can distinguish the whiff of a plant covered with caterpillars from one plagued with mites, or just physically damaged. It could act as an early warning system in glasshouses, alerting farmers to the early signs of disease before crop yields fall.

See also:

'Electronic nose snifts out plant pests' - New Scientist 20 October 2008

University of Warwick, Sensors Research Laboratory

Nigel Paul, University of Lancaster

September 16, 2008

Ugandan banana farmers fend off deadly disease

More than 3,000 farmers in Uganda have been able to combat a pestilent disease that threatened to wipe out production of cooking banana, thanks to a joint initiative by the Government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that also helped them boost their yields of the staple crop.

The spread of banana bacterial wilt (BBW), a bacterial disease that kills off trees and makes their fruit inedible, had caused banana production in the East African nation to plummet around 65 to 80 per cent, according to FAO.

See also:

'Ugandan banana farmers fend off deadly disease, boost yields with UN aid' - UN News Centre 15 September 2008

'Battling a banana killer in East Africa'- Walta Information Center, Ethiopia 16 September 2008

September 08, 2008

Scientists find disease mechanism of tomato virus

A joint Japan-U.S. research team has discovered the mechanism through which the tomato yellow-leaf curl virus spreads in infected plants, and causes a disease which has stricken the world's major tomato growing regions.

Growers currently have to discard infected tomatoes to prevent the disease from spreading, but the discovery of the pathway through which this disease is triggered at the molecular level offers hope that the disease can be prevented in the future.

See also:

'Scientists find disease mechanism of tomato virus' - The Mainichi Daily News 6 September 2008

September 04, 2008

Busy lizzies being wiped out by mildew disease

Known as Impatiens downy mildew, it first appears as a white felt-like powder on the underside of leaves and spreads on airborne spores. Gardeners have been urged to keep an eye out for the disease and to destroy any of the bedding plants displaying symptoms to stop the spread.

Impatiens downy mildew ( spot of impatiens (

See also:

'Busy lizzies being wiped out by mildew disease' - The Telegraph 3 September 2008...again, spot the liberal use of the word 'virus'

September 03, 2008

US concerns over citrus greening disease continued

Follow-up to US concerns over citrus greening disease continued from Plant Diseases in the News

Real estate is not the only industry in Florida to be suffering from an economic blight. While the Sunshine State ranks as one of the foreclosure capitals of America, its huge citrus fruit industry is fighting a disease that threatens to devastate the orange business within a decade.

See also:

'Chinese disease stalks orange groves of Florida' - The Times 28 August 2008

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