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Trichoderma_fertile

 

08.19.2014:

At a Virginia Tech-led conference in Nepal, agriculture experts learn that employing Trichoderma can save millions of people from disease, save billions of dollars in crop loss, and safeguard the environment by reducing toxic pesticide use.

See video at:

http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/08/081914-outreach-nepalworkshop.html

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The Economist
Jul 26th 2014 | CHINCHINÁ | From the print edition
Timekeeper

coffee rust20140726_AMP001_0

How Colombia fought the fungus

WHEN Jesús María Aguirre saw his coffee bushes wither away, he knew that he had lost the sole source of income for his family. “We would go to collect coffee and would come back with our baskets nearly empty,” says the Colombian grower, recalling the pernicious effects of the “coffee rust” fungus, or roya.

The fungus stunts the growth of the fruit of arabica coffee plants. It infected about 40% of Colombia’s crop between 2008 and 2012. Production plunged from a high of 12.6m 60kg bags a year in 2007 to just 7.7m bags in 2012. As supply from Colombia shrank, international buyers turned to growers elsewhere.

What Mr Aguirre went through then is now the lot of farmers throughout Central America, the Dominican Republic, southern Mexico and Jamaica. Production there fell by 30% between 2011 and 2013 because of roya, reckons the International Coffee Organisation. USAID thinks it has caused $1 billion of economic damage in Latin America since 2012. This time Colombians are the ones taking advantage.

On his farm on the slopes of the country’s central mountain range, Mr Aguirre today presides over 1.5 hectares (4 acres) of healthy bushes plump with red berries. For yields to recover, he had to yank up fungus-prone bushes and plant a new variety that promised to fight off the blight. He was one of thousands of farmers who joined in a countrywide scheme run by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, which represents more than 500,000 independent growers. By June 2014 more than 3 billion bushes had been replanted.

Three-quarters of them were replaced with a roya-resistant variety known as Castillo, which had been developed in the labs of Cenicafé, the coffee federation’s research arm, after 13 years of selective breeding. Lindsey Bolger, head coffee buyer for Keurig Green Mountain, a roaster in the United States, said the industry was “on pins and needles” about whether the Castillo would work. It has. Colombia produced 11.5m bags in the 12 months to June 2014, up by 31% on the previous 12-month period, according to the coffee federation. Buyers are coming back.

Fernando Gast, Cenicafé’s director, says seeds of the Castillo coffee plants have been sent to Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica for evaluation. But he warns that Colombia’s success story is not directly transferable to Central America. The Castillo variety was created for Colombia’s needs and may not adapt to Central America’s soil and climate, he says.

Cenicafé’s 89 researchers cannot rest easy, either. They are working on a project to map the coffee genome. That should help them develop new varieties that will not only resist roya, which is continuously evolving, but will also be less susceptible to erratic weather. The search for a stronger brew is never over.

From the print edition: The Americas

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Environmental News Network

 

coffee-beans

July 30, 2013 06:05 AM

As if there were a need for even more evidence that global warming is a real, verifiable and evidenced threat, new research is showing Central and South American coffee production is drastically dropping because of higher global temperatures.
Add extreme rainfall totals to the mix and the result is rampant insects and damaged plants. If economics won’t convince people the earth is warming, perhaps interrupting their coffee supply will.

A traditionally reliable and adequate income, coffee farming is becoming a more challenging option. Where entire communities once depended on coffee to perpetuate their economies, farming families need to find alternative sources of income.
Last year, production dropped 70%. A fungus called Coffee Rust is killing of coffee plants quickly where lower temperatures once prevented the spread of the fungus. If ever there was a clear connection between global warming and the declining of production and community stability.
Beans from the area that is seeing the most dramatic trouble produce 16% of Columbian coffee, and command high prices in specialty coffees. Don’t think that insulates you generic brand coffee drinkers. The entire supply chain is cross-pollinated (no pun intended) and will result in higher prices across the spectrum of quality.
Article continues: http://globalwarmingisreal.com/2011/04/05/coffee-production-and-climate-change/

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http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/342

From: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press
Published November 11, 2004 12:00 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. − The first U.S. cases of the fungus soybean rust, which hinders plant growth and drastically cuts crop production, were found at two research sites in Louisiana, officials said Wednesday.

The fungus is primarily spread by wind-borne spores, which are suspected to have blown in from South America during the hurricane season and were found after the bulk of the state’s soybeans had been harvested, Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom said.

Though agriculture officials said the effect of the fungus should be minimal this year because it appeared after much of the harvest, Odom said he was worried that Louisiana’s soybeans wouldn’t sell as well.

“What we’re scared of is that the market may drop in Louisiana because of the rust aspect of it, and I don’t see any reason for it because most of the beans have already been harvested,” he said.

“The market may say, ‘We don’t want your soybeans,'” Odom said.

Soybean prices rose about 3 percent Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade, largely due to news of the disease. The January contract for soybeans rose 14 1/2 cents to $5.25 a bushel.

“If it happened during the growing season, it would have had a much bigger effect,” said Dale Gustafson, a grains analyst for Smith Barney in Chicago. “But the impact of that news on this year’s crop is negligible.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture was sending a team of scientists and regulators to Louisiana to help identify the fungus and determine if it’s spread beyond the LSU research sites in St. Gabriel and Baton Rouge, where the samples of the fungal disease were taken Saturday.

“Soybean rust has never been detected in the United States before,” said Richard Dunkle, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Dunkle said of the two rust species, Louisiana’s cases are known as the Asian species, or “the more aggressive of the two species, causing more damage to the soybean plants.”

Soybean rust can be treated with fungicides, but that adds increased costs to the production of soybeans. USDA officials said the fungicide treatment costs an average of about $25 per acre, increasing the cost of soybean production about 20 percent in affected areas.

The fungus creates tan and reddish-brown blotches on the under-side of growing leaves, weakening the plant and reducing yields. The infections can spread quickly and has been found in Australia, South America, Asia and Africa.

Keith Collins, chief economist for the USDA, said he didn’t believe the fungus would have any effect on exports, noting the United States was the only major soybean producer in the world without soybean rust and the other countries have been exporting despite the presence of the fungus.

Source: Associated Press

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From: Carrie Khan, NPR
Published July 28, 2014 07:32 AM

Outside the northern Guatemalan town of Olopa, near the Honduran border, farmer Edwin Fernando Diaz Viera stands in the middle of his tiny coffee field. He says it was his lifelong dream to own a farm here. The area is renowned for producing some of the world’s richest Arabica, the smooth-tasting beans beloved by specialty coffee brewers.

“My farm was beautiful, it was big,” he says.

But then, a plant fungus called coffee rust, or roya in Spanish, hit his crop.

“Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything,” he says.

But then, a plant fungus called coffee rust, or roya in Spanish, hit his crop.
“Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything,” he says.
That was in 2012, and it was Diaz Viera’s first crop. The rust took it all. The fungus roared over the hillsides, covered the valleys and clung to the slopes of Guatemala’s shady volcanoes.
The fungus has spread through Central America at an alarming rate, causing crop losses of more than a billion dollars. And it is leaving hundreds of thousands unemployed in its wake.
In El Salvador, nearly three quarters of all coffee trees are infected with the fungus; in Costa Rica more than 60 percent are infected. And in Guatemala, coffee rust now covers 70 percent of the crop, resulting in the loss of at least 100,000 jobs and a 15 percent drop in coffee output over the last two years.

Read more at NPR.

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Logo for IPM CRSP

Annual Report 2013
Posted on May 27, 2014 by Kelly Izlar
The IPM Innovation Labs’s FY 2013 (October 1, 2012–September 30, 2013) annual report is now available. Click below to download the document.

http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp/publications/annual-reports/annual-report-2013/

For users with lower bandwidth and/or with interest in only certain specific topic areas, we will split individual chapters and major sections out of the Annual Report for you to view individually. Check back in the coming weeks for a list of individual chapters and sections for download. For more information contact: rmuni@vt.edu

Table of Contents

Management Entity Message
Highlights and Achievements in 2012–2013

Regional Programs
Latin America and the Caribbean
East Africa
West Africa
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Central Asia

Global Programs
Parthenium
International Plant Diagnostic Network (IPDN)
International Plant Virus Disease Network (IPVDN)
Impact Assessment
Gender Equity, Knowledge, and Capacity Building

Associate & Buy-In Awards
Indonesia
Nepal
Bangladesh

Training and Publications
Short- and Long-Term Training
Publications

Appendices: Collaborating Institutions and Acronyms

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Blunting Rice Disease
Researchers aim to disarm a ‘cereal killer’

Released: 6/2/2014 9:55 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Delaware

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/618683/?sc=dwtn

Image

This image shows, from top, rice that is not infected with the rice blast fungus; rice infected with rice blast; and infected rice treated with the beneficial microbe Pseudomonas chlororaphis EA105

Newswise — A fungus that kills an estimated 30 percent of the world’s rice crop may finally have met its match, thanks to a research discovery made by scientists at the University of Delaware and the University of California at Davis.
The research team, led by Harsh Bais, associate professor of plant and soil sciences in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has identified a naturally occurring microbe living right in the soil around rice plants — Pseudomonas chlororaphis EA105 — that inhibits the devastating fungus known as rice blast. What’s more, the beneficial soil microbe also induces a system-wide defense response in rice plants to battle the fungus.
The research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is published in BMC Plant Biology and includes, along with Bais, authors Carla Spence, a doctoral student in the Department of Biological Sciences, Emily Alff, who recently earned her master’s degree in plant and soil sciences, and Nicole Donofrio, associate professor of plant and soil sciences, all from UD; and Sundaresan Venkatesan, professor, Cameron Johnson, assistant scientist, and graduate student Cassandra Ramos, all from UC Davis.
“We truly are working to disarm a ‘cereal killer’ and to do so using a natural, organic control,” says Bais, in his laboratory at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. In addition to rice, a distinct population of the rice blast fungus also now threatens wheat production worldwide.
“Rice blast is a relentless killer, a force to be reckoned with, especially as rice is a staple in the daily diet of more than half the world’s population — that’s over 3 billion people,” Bais notes. “As global population continues to grow, biocontrol bacteria may be an important key for farmers to overcome crop losses due to plant disease and to produce more food from the same acre of land.”
According to Bais, the rice blast fungus (Magnaporthe oryzae) attacks rice plants through spores resembling pressure plugs that penetrate the plant tissue. Once these spores infiltrate the cell wall, the fungus “eats the plant alive,” as Bais says. Common symptoms of rice blast are telltale diamond shaped-lesions on the plant leaves.
In order to do its work, the spore must produce a structure called the appressorium, a filament that adheres to the plant surface like an anchor. Without it, the fungus can’t invade the plant.
In a research study published in the journal Planta this past October, Bais and colleagues Spence, Donofrio and Vidhyavathi Raman showed that Pseudomonas chlororaphis EA105 strongly inhibited the formation of the appressorium and that priming rice plants with EA105 prior to infection by rice blast decreased lesion size.
For her work, Spence, the lead author, recently received the Carson Best Paper Award for the best scientific paper published by a Ph.D. student in biological sciences at UD.
The next step in the research was to sample the rhizosphere, the soil in the region around the roots of rice plants growing in the field, to reveal the microbial community living there and to attempt to elucidate their roles.
Thanks to DNA sequencing techniques, Bais says that identifying the various microorganisms in soil is easy. But understanding the role of each of those microorganisms is a continuing story.
A natural control for a deadly fungus
“Everyone knows what’s there, but we don’t know what they are doing,” Bais says of the microbes. To home in on the source of the antifungal impact, Bais and his colleagues are relying on what he refers to as “old school culturing” to find out if a single bacterium or a group of different bacteria are at work.
In their study reported in BMC Plant Biology, the researchers used gene sequencing techniques to identify 11 naturally occurring bacteria isolated from rice plants grown in the field in California. These bacteria were then tested in the laboratory, with Pseudomonas chlororaphis EA105 demonstrating the strongest impact on rice blast. The soil microbe reduced the formation of the anchor-like appressoria by nearly 90 percent while also inhibiting fungal growth by 76 percent.
Bais points out that although hydrogen cyanide is commonly produced by pseudomonad bacteria, the antifungal impact of Pseudomonas chlororaphis EA105 appears to be independent of cyanide production.
Applying a natural soil microbe as an antifungal treatment versus chemical pesticides offers multiple benefits to farmers and the environment, Bais says.
“Rice blast quickly learns how to get around synthetics — most manmade pesticides are effective only for about three years,” Bais says. “So it’s really cool to find a biological that can attenuate this thing.”
Bais, who also has conducted multiple studies with beneficial microbes in the Bacillus family, envisions a day when farmers will treat plants with a “magic cocktail of microbes” naturally found in soil to help boost their immunity and growth.
This summer, he and his colleagues will conduct field trials using Pseudomonas chlororaphis EA105 on rice plants grown on the UD farm. He also will work with farmers in the central states in India.
The research is supported by a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Project.

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