Report of the III International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology held from June 7-11, 2015 in Bari, Italy
Over 200 delegates from 40 countries in 5 continents attended the III International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology from June 7-11, 2015 in Bari, Italy and explored a wide-range of recent advances in postharvest pathology and disease control.

The symposium was held under the patronage of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), the International Society of Plant Pathology (ISPP), the Italian Phytopathological Society (SIPaV) and EXPO2015. This is the first joint meeting between the Postharvest Pathology Subject Matter Committee of the ISPP and Postharvest Pathology Working group of ISHS. The symposium brought together the postharvest pathology researchers across from the globe and the delegates shared their scientific research, developed new collaborations and strengthened existing collaborations. In particular, it was encouraging to see many new young scientists participating along with the experienced colleagues and exchanging knowledge of postharvest pathology, developing new collaborations, and working towards postharvest innovations.

The theme of the III International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology was, ‘Using science to increase food availability’. An excellent scientific program was organised by the Convener, Antonio Ippolito and the international scientific committee and the organizing committees.

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The III International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology International Scientific Committee posing with the ‘postharvest pathology symposium mascot -pear’. From left to right: Paolo Bertolini (Italy), Antonio Ippolito (Convener of the Symposium; Italy), Micheal Wisniewski (USA), Samir Droby (Israel), Deena Errampalli (Canada), Josef Usall (Spain), Juan Pablo Zoffoli (Chile), Lise Korsten (South Africa),Kerry Everett (New Zealand) and Davide Spadaro (Italy)
Not present in the photo: Asgar Ali (Malaysia), Vincenzo De Cicco (Italy), Luis Gonzalez Candelas (Spain), Maria Ludovica Gullino (Italy), Pervin Kinay Teksur (Turley), Jia Liu (China), Leon Terry (UK), Shiping Tian (China), and Sylvana Vero (Uruguay).

The symposium opened with talks on the history and perspectives of the postharvest pathology symposia by Samir Droby, Michael Wisniewski, Joseph Usall, Pervin Kinay Teksur and Antonio Ippolito. Two inaugural invited lectures of the evening were, Next Generation Sequencing for next generation crops by Massimo Delledonne, Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy; and Science and social media: how to avoid feeding the troll and save your time by Lorenzo Mannella, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy. On the June 8, the dignitaries, Antonio Felice Uricchio, Rector of Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro; Teodoro Miano, Head of Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e degli Alimenti; Fabrizio Nardoni, Assessore alle Risorse Agroalimentari Regione Puglia, and Antonio Ippolito, Convener welcomed the delegates to the symposium.

The scientific program during the next three days included invited lectures, contributed oral and poster presentations, and exhibitions. The seven contributed oral presentations sessions were, 1. Studies on Host–Pathogen interactions; 2. Microorganisms as Biocontrol agents; 3. The Microbiome and Its Relation to Postharvest Pathology; 4. Toxic Fungal Metabolites and Postharvest Pathology; 5. Epidemiology and Detection of Postharvest Pathogens; 6. Alternative means for the Management of Postharvest Pathogens; and 7. Integrated approaches and new products to reduce food waste. One Round table on Innovations in the management of table grape diseases was held. Each of the sessions began with invited lectures and continued with contributed oral presentations. There were three poster presentation sessions. A joint business meeting of the Postharvest Pathology Subject Matter Committee of the ISPP and the Postharvest Pathology Working group of ISHS was held just before the Closing ceremony. The scientific program concluded with a gala dinner and the awards presentation for best posters at the Sala Zonno, overlooking the beautiful Bari bay on the June 10.

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On the final day of the symposium, the delegates participated in a field tour where they visited a fruit packing house and observed processing of cherries and peaches that are being packaged for the export and local markets. The drive along the cherry and olive production sites was a treat. On the way back to Bari, the delegates had an opportunity to visit Albero Bello, a monumental Trulli village of the 1400’s, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 (Photo) and Polignano a Mare, a fascinating medieval village perched on a high and jagged coastline with many caves. The food, wine and ice cream of the region were outstanding!!! Good times was had by all!

Congratulations to Antonio Ippolito and the Organizing and Scientific Committees for a successful and productive symposium on postharvest pathology in Bari, Italy.

Looking forward, the symposium delegates voted to meet in South Africa in May2017 and Lise Korsten will be the convener of the 4th International Postharvest Pathology Symposium.

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Submitted by
Deena Errampalli
President, Canadian Phytopathological Society
Member, International Scientific Committee of the III International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology

Canadian Phytopathological Society

For the latest issue of the Canadian Phytopathological Society News Vol. 59, No. 2 go to:


CABI Invasives Blog

Mikania (Mikania micrantha) is a tropical vine which is native to the Americas. Often referred to as the ‘Mile-a-Minute Weed,’ mikania grows rapidly in areas of high rainfall and has become highly invasive in parts of Asia and the Pacific. Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, invasive species are defined as alien species that threaten native ecosystems, habitats or species and in Nepal, mikania and other invasive plants such as chromolaena (Chromolaena odorata) are becoming increasingly problematic within the Chitwan National Park (CNP). There, the plants are having a serious negative impact on native grasses, shrubs and the one-horned rhinoceros, and by implication, deer and tiger populations. They are also affecting the local people who reside in the buffer zones and rely on the park for fodder and other materials.

A rhino amongst chromolaena


In a specific study on mikania, scientists from the National Trust for Nature Conservation, Nepal with support from CABI and the Zoological Society of London have found a significant negative relationship between high mikania coverage and the population of rhinos. This is because the mikania vine smothers the fodder plants that the rhinos feed on. This could also be influencing their movement to other areas of the park where they feed on resources and crops important to local people. This in turn may exacerbate conflict between the residents of the buffer zones and the wildlife in the area.

Deer and Tigers

The reduction in fodder plants is likely also to cause a mirrored decrease in the number of deer in the park. Deer feed on similar plants to the rhinos and the impact of mikania on native vegetation is therefore likely to affect their feeding behaviour in a comparable manner. As a result a decrease in deer numbers is likely to have a negative impact on tiger populations, with tiger numbers being directly related to the populations of their prey.

Local people

The residents of the buffer zones surrounding the CNP are known to rely on the core area of the park for resources such as fodder, which they use to feed their livestock. These residents recognise that fodder availability within the park has decreased and report that collecting materials now takes three times as long as it has in previous years to gather the same amount of fodder. Reduced fodder has been attributed to flooding of the park and the spread of invasive plant species. In particular, a high proportion of local residents report that mikania has a significant negative impact on the fodder growing in the park.

Sustainable control of mikania weed

CABI piloted using a rust fungus (Puccinia spegazzinii) as a classical biological control agent for mikania weed in India. This highly host specific and damaging pathogen has now been released in Papua New Guinea and Taiwan, where it is having a significant impact on the growth of the weed. The rust has recently been released on a number of other Pacific Islands, and could be considered for release in Nepal.

Fresh Plaza
Australia’s apple and pear industry has welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to suspend imports of nashi pears from South Korea due to an outbreak of fire blight there.

The South Korean Government notified Australia of the outbreak of fire blight in accordance with its protocol requirements.

Australia only imports a very small volume of Asian style or ‘nashi’ pears from South Korea. In 2014, imported nashi pears from South Korea comprised only 82 tonnes, up from the 49 tonnes in the previous year. Australia does not have access to export apples or pears to South Korea.

South Korea was granted access to the Australian market in March 1999 following an import risk assessment by the Australian Government. Further access was granted in 2005 to include sourcing from an additional growing region within South Korea.

Access was granted subject to South Korea implementing phytosanitary requirements to prevent a range of pests and diseases – including fire blight – reaching Australia through in-field detection, monitoring surveys, disinfestation and recognised pest/disease-free growing areas.

No pests and diseases of quarantine concern to Australia have been intercepted in the sixteen years of trade in Korean pear fruit.

In its Public Quarantine Alert PQA1048 about the trade suspension the Australian Government said:

“Regional staff, importers and brokers are advised that imports of fresh pears from Korea are suspended until further notice. The suspension follows the confirmed detection of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) in Korea and is in accordance with the Import protocol for Korean pear fruit from the Republic of Korea 2011.”

Please visit apal.org.au for more information.

A bee collecting pollen from a wildflower

Pollination by wild bees contributes an average $3,251 per hectare per year to crop production, researchers find
A bee collecting pollen from a wildflower.Researchers followed the activities of nearly 74,000 bees from more than 780 species at 90 projects around the world. Photograph: Geoffrey Swaine/Rex Shutterstock

Agence France-Presse

Tuesday 16 June 2015 23.44 EDT
Last modified on Thursday 18 June 2015 11.45 EDT

Wild bees provide crop pollination services worth more than $3,250 per hectare per year, a study reported on Tuesday.

Their value to the food system is “in the billions, globally,” its authors wrote in the journal Nature Communications.

Over three years, researchers followed the activities of nearly 74,000 bees from more than 780 species. The team looked at 90 projects to monitor bee pollination at 1,394 crop fields around the world.

They found that on average, wild bees contribute $3,251 a hectare to crop production, ahead of managed honeybee colonies, which were worth $2,913 a hectare.
Nearly one in 10 of Europe’s wild bee species face extinction, says study

The study adds to attempts to place a dollar figure on “ecosystem services” – the natural resources that feed us – to discourage environmental plundering.

Amazingly, 2% of wild bee species – the most common types – fertilise about 80% of bee-pollinated crops worldwide, the team found.

The rest, while crucial for the ecosystem, are less so for agriculture – so conservationists may undermine their own argument by promoting a purely economic argument for the protection of bee biodiversity, the authors said.

“Rare and threatened species may play a less significant role economically than common species but this does not mean their protection is less important,” said David Kleijn, a professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, who led the study.

A healthy diversity of bee species was essential, given major fluctuations in populations, he added.

Honeybees in many parts of the world are suffering a catastrophic decline, variously blamed on pesticides, mites, viruses or fungus. Last month US watchdogs reported that US beekeepers had lost 42% of their colonies from the previous year, a level deemed too high to be sustainable.

“This study shows us that wild bees provide enormous economic benefits but reaffirms that the justification for protecting species cannot always be economic,” said a co-author, Taylor Ricketts of the University of Vermont.

“We still have to agree that protecting biodiversity is the right thing to do.”

According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, about 80% of flowering plant species are pollinated by insects, as well as by birds and bats.

At least a third of the world’s agricultural crops depend on these unpaid workers, the UN agency says on its website. Crops that require pollination include coffee, cocoa and many fruit and vegetable types.

The economic value of pollination was estimated in a 2005 study at €153bn, accounting for 9.5% of farm production for human food.

Commentators not involved in the study said it may play an invaluable part in the campaign to save bees.

“Crucially, the commonest wild bees are the most important, which gives us the ‘win-win’ situation where relatively cheap and easy conservation measures can support these and give maximum benefit for the crops,” said Pat Willmer, a professor of biology at Scotland’s University of St Andrews.

“For example, planting wildflowers with wider grassy margins around crops, as well as less intensive or more organic farming, all enhance abundance of the key crop-visiting bees,” she told Britain’s Science Media Centre.


Climate Change and Food Systems: Global assessments and implications for food security and trade

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Download: HTML PDF
Year of publication: 2015
Publisher: FAO
Pages: 357 p.
Job Number: I4332
Office: Economic and Social Development Department
Corporate author: Trade and Markets Division
Personal author: Elbehri, A.
Abstract:This book collects the findings of a group of scientists and economists who have taken stock of climate change impacts on food and agriculture at global and regional levels over the past two decades. The evidence presented describes how global warming will impact where and how food is produced and discusses the significant consequences for food security, health and nutrition, water scarcity and climate adaptation. The book also highlights the implications for global food trade. The evidence presented in the book is presented in a way that is widely accessible to policy decision makers and practitioners and makes a distinct contribution towards a greater science-policy interchange. Put together, the different analyses in the book paint a comprehensive perspective linking climate change to food, nutrition, water, and trade along with suggested policy respons

Thailand riceA farmer walks through her dried-up rice field in Udon Thani province, Thailand, on May 12, 2015. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

 Bloomberg Business


June 15, 2015 — 6:00 PM CDT Updated on June 16, 2015 — 2:43 PM CDT

A rice glut that sent prices slumping more than a year ago is shrinking, just as El Nino arrives to parch paddies across Asia.

Global inventories were already heading for an eight-year low, including stockpiles so spoiled that top exporter Thailand may sell most for industrial use. Now, the first dry-weather pattern since 2010 is threatening crops in the Philippines, Indonesia and India. At a time when world food costs are the lowest in more than five years, rice may surge more than 40 percent if monsoon-season rains falter, said Jack Scoville at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Rice surplus shrinking

“The bigger risk is yet to come,” said Fred Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC Holdings Plc.

 El Nino is causing havoc in the market for rice, the food staple for half the world’s population. The Philippines, once the biggest buyer, will have to import more to address weather-related disruptions to food supply, the International Monetary Fund said. In Indonesia, imports are needed to curb domestic price increases, the United Nations said. Smaller crops in India, the second-largest exporter, will send shipments tumbling 17 percent to a five-year low, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.

Output Deficit

After almost a decade of surplus that sent rice futures tumbling to an eight-year low last month, global demand will reach a record 489 million metric tons in 2015-2016, exceeding production for a third straight year, the USDA said June 10. The agency estimates inventories will drop to 91.4 million tons, the smallest since 2008, when tight supply sent prices to records and food riots erupted in Africa and the Middle East.

While a repeat of 2008 is unlikely, rice will get “a lot more” expensive, Hong Kong-based Neumann said. Indonesia has already seen food inflation accelerate to 7.9 percent, and the USDA predicted Indian prices will rise with a smaller harvest of the winter crop.

In the U.S., the fifth-largest exporter, rice will rebound to $14 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade, from $9.80 on June 16, Scoville said.

Pattern Returns

The warming waters of the equatorial Pacific change the atmosphere above the ocean to create the El Nino pattern, which may last through January and beyond, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said June 11. While every El Nino is different, it has been known to cause droughts in Asia, excessive rain in South America and wetter summers in North America.

The impact isn’t just on rice. India said the pattern may crimp the monsoon season that starts this month, potentially hurting food output. Australia, the fifth-largest wheat exporter, cut its forecast for this year’s crop on June 10, citing drier weather.

In the 30 days through June 14, rainfall was at least 40 percent below normal in rice-growing areas of Thailand and the Philippines, and down 15 percent in Indonesia, according to Speedwell Weather in Charleston, South Carolina.

Rice prices have been mired in a bear market after Thailand amassed a record 17.8 million tons, as former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra sought to support growers. A military government took power last year and pledged to unload the stockpiles.

Rotting Grain

But much of the inventory has been stored in warehouses without temperature controls and exposed to rain and pests, like the rice weevil. About 3 million to 4 million tons are suitable for humans, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of Thai Rice Exporters Association.

The military government will decide in a month whether to sell 13 million tons for industrial uses like livestock feed or to make ethanol, Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general at the Department of Foreign Trade, said June 5.

With less inventory for human consumption, the price of 5 percent broken white rice, the Thai benchmark, will jump by more than a third to $500 a ton from $373 now, said Mamadou Ciss, president of Alliance Commodities (Suisse) SA in Geneva.

Tainted Thai inventories and the prospect of smaller crops from El Nino “will be a double whammy,” said Ciss, who has been trading the grain since 1984. “It will solve the oversupply situation worldwide.”


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