announcements from all on any aspect of Plant Pathology are invited for the Newsletter. Contributions from the ISPP Executive,
Council and Subject Matter Committees, Associated Societies and
Supporting Organisations are requested.
and the Economic Impact of Plant Diseases on Food Security
During the meeting of the
ISPP Task Force on
Global Food Security (TF on GFS) in Darwin on the evening of 27 April 2011, all
participants confirmed the importance of better assessing the economic impact of
plant diseases on food security as a critical factor for raising the awareness
of policy makers and donors. This is not an easy task and generalizations are
not possible for all crops and locations in the world. It was agreed that this
needed to go beyond having plant pathologists coming up with solutions acting as
economists. It was recognized that agricultural economists should be doing the
job in close collaboration with plant pathologists.
One possibility about how this might be achieved is to
establish a new International Working Group (IWG) that includes the Chair of the
ISPP TF on GFS and members, plus other plant pathologists who have been involved
in such assessments, together with agricultural economists and specialists from
such organizations as FAO or IFPRI.
The task of the IWG would be to:
Brainstorm on the needs and the parameters that could
be used for disease impact assessments in various developed and developing
countries. This should be based on successful work already done (as recently
in Australia for wheat diseases) but also on the feasibility of use of such
Liaise and work closely with the TF on GFS, active
ISPP Subject Matter Committees and Societies such as those in the USA,
Australasia and the Netherlands, to get their input on the parameters
suggested by the IWG, based on their experience and crops/diseases they deal
Agree on a set of basic parameters and harmonized
methodologies to be taken into considerations in developed and developing
countries for estimates of the impact of plant diseases; these would be
accepted and recommended by ISPP, and provide a basis for common
understanding and preliminary assessment values;
Liaise and work closely with the SP-IPM, Consultative
Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centers, ISPP
Associated Societies and other organizations to orient and develop training
programs for plant pathologists in the developing countries in crop loss
assessments, based on the agreed harmonized parameters and methodologies;
Work with the above mentioned organizations to find
some funding, if and when needed, to implement some economic impact
assessment activities in various countries to test their effectiveness.
This may or may not be successful in getting the desired
results, knowing that the factors involved are very vast and variable in
different regions, years and cropping systems. However, it would be a good
exercise for connecting and partnering beyond plant pathologists, paralleling
the successful procedures used in the ISPP journal “Food Security”.
I would appreciate opinions on this idea or provisions of
other suggestions. I believe that ISPP, preferably through the TF on GFS, should
lead such an initiative.
National Energy Ladders and their Carbon Implications
A recent paper by
Paul J Burke of
the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the ANU, Canberra,
Australia is “The National-Level Energy Ladder and its Carbon Implications”. It
presents evidence from a large sample of countries for the years 1960-2005 on
how the energy mix evolves during the process of economic development. It
supports the existence of an energy ladder that nations climb as they develop.
Poor economies are largely dependent on biomass for their energy. Economic
development typically sees countries switch toward commercial fossil fuels, and
also some hydroelectricity. At high income levels, countries increasingly adopt
low-carbon energy sources such as nuclear power and renewables such as wind
power. In terms of carbon emissions, the net effect of the ladder is that
economic development causes an initial carbonization, and a later
decarbonization, of the energy system.
Different countries climb the ladder in different ways.
Fossil fuel-rich countries are much less likely to adopt nuclear power and
renewables, and to achieve reductions in the carbon intensity of their energy
use. Most of the world’s population are in countries on the upward slope of the
carbon intensity of energy use curve, where systems are likely to become
increasingly dependent on carbon-intensive fossil fuels as per capita incomes
increase. A doubling of India’s 2005 per capita income is likely to involve an
increase in the carbon intensity of energy consumption of up to 45%. Economic
expansion in poorer countries is likely to require a more substantial increase
in the carbon intensity of energy. The carbon intensity of China’s energy use is
likely to reduce over coming years as China begins to reorientate its energy mix
toward natural gas, nuclear power and renewable energy. China’s overall energy
use and CO2 emissions will continue their upward trajectories for the
foreseeable future in a business-as-usual development scenario.
Globally, the findings suggest that economic growth will
continue to increase CO2 emissions in most countries for the foreseeable future
unless strong climate change mitigation initiatives are implemented. Encouraging
rapid movement up the ladder to nuclear power, renewables, and natural gas,
where appropriate, may be a means to reduce the carbon intensity of energy use
and total CO2 emissions expected for many developing countries. Carbon pricing
would facilitate such movement. There may be a role for developed countries to
provide assistance to developing countries to aid early adoption of low-carbon
energy sources and technologies.
The results also draw attention to the formidable
challenge of weaning fossil fuel-rich countries off their dependence on
carbon-intensive fossil fuels, as even at high income levels these countries
tend to remain heavily reliant on fossil fuels for their energy needs. Given
this ongoing dependence on fossil fuels in many countries, the development of
affordable lower carbon fossil fuel energy technologies is likely to be an
indispensible part of an optimal climate change mitigation response.
full text of the paper plus references, tables and figures may be obtained
by clicking here.
Global Horticulture Initiative
See the news of coming events and many other activities
under the initiative by clicking on
GlobalHort Newsletter. Among the events in the near future are:-
The Initiative is a worldwide program to foster more
efficient and effective partnerships and collective action among stakeholders.
It is organized in a consortium, a group of national and international
institutions organized to collaborate in research, training, and
technology-generating activities designed to meet mutually-agreed objectives.
The issues at stake transcend national and regional boundaries, so the
Initiative gives a chance to target global concerns in horticulture. GlobalHort
is a not-for-profit organization registered in Belgium and Tanzania.
The Initiative sees a world where horticulture is prized
by the poor for its contribution to present and future generations. The final
beneficiaries are resource-poor households in developing countries working
within the agricultural sector and food processing industries. Special efforts
will be made to empower women, who are the principal workers. Resource-poor
households will also gain improved access to affordable and nutritious
vegetables and fruits.
Initiative acts as a global facility to coordinate horticultural research for
solutions in health, productivity and safety in sustainable environments and to
uplift the quality of life of the poorest world populations.
Phytopathology Congress in France
Dr Frederic Revers, Secretary, Société Française de
Phytopathologie, advises that the 8th Congress of the French Society for
Phytopathology will be held in Paris, in June 2012. See “Coming Events” and also
Congress web-site for details of the scientific and organizing committees,
the draft program, the registration fees and some key dates for administration.
This is the title of a new history of recent plant
pathology published by the Canadian Phytopathology Society. An organising
committee comprising Denis Gaudet, Verna Higgins, Guillemond Ouellette, Lu
Piening, Richard Stace-Smith, Bud Platt, Jack Sutherland, Roy Whitney and Ron
Wall has been involved in gathering material. The book has an introduction by
Clicking here will lead to more information and means of obtaining
Latest News about Plant Pathology from the UK
The latest edition of the newsletter of the British
Society for Plant Pathology number 65 for the UK summer of 2011 and edited by
Jennifer Hodgetts has just appeared on the
It carries a lot of information on the activities of the society and reports on
conferences, mostly international, held in the last year.
Two of the conferences were sponsored by the BSPP in the
UK. One was on the “Molecular Biology of Plant Pathogens” in September 2010 held
beside the River Dart in Devon and reported on by Professor Murray Grant of the
University of Exeter. The second was the “8th International Conference on
Pseudomonas syringae pathovars and related pathogens” held in Oxford, UK, as
August turned into September in 2010 and reported on by Dawn Arnold, Robert
Jackson and Gail Preston. Two special aspects were the involvement of John
Mansfield and the visions of Harry Potter in the background.
The other conferences covered were held outside the UK,
and these were reported in excellent detail and style mainly by advanced
students attending on travel grants. They were:-
“International Climate Change Adaptation Conference and
the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change” held in Queensland,
Australia, in June/July 2010.
“9th International Symposium on the Microbiology of Aerial
Plant Surfaces” held in Oregon, USA, in August 2010.
“18th Congress of the International Organization for
Mycoplasmology” held in Chianciano Terme, Siena, Italy, in July 2010.
“Joint 30th ESN Symposium and 5th Phylloxera Symposium” in
Vienna, Austria, in September 2010.
“The 10th International Symposium on Cytochrome P450
Biodiversity and Biotechnology” in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, in October
“The 15th Congress of the Spanish Society for
Phytopathology” in Vitoria, Spain, in late September 2010.
“International Advances in Plant Virology” in Arnhem, the
Netherlands, in September 2010.
There are also excellent accounts of international research visits, fellowship
work and student activities on short projects.
Races of Wheat Stem Rust in the Ug99 Group
A ProMED-mail post
of 24 August 2011 reported on a paper by F Mukoyi et al. in
Plant Disease (2011) 95, 1188, entitled “Detection of variants of
wheat stem rust race Ug99 (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici) in
Zimbabwe and Mozambique”.
The occurrence and migration of variants of race Ug99 is
concerning for world wheat, seven variants now having been characterized in the
Ug99 lineage. Similarity in the races in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Mozambique
suggests the exchanged of inoculum within the region and explains the detection
of a new race in South Africa in 2009. Trajectory models showed winds
originating in Zimbabwe in October 2009, where the rust was observed, then
passing directly over KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa within 48 to 72 hours. The
new race was confirmed from collections in KwaZulu-Natal in November 2009. This
provided new geographical records for an Ug99-related race and put Southern
African cultivars at risk and warned about an increased threat in the southern
Technology in Horticulture and its Australian and Global Implications
David Moore, General Manager, R&D Services, Horticulture
Australia Limited, advised about a seminar on this topic recently. The
implications were focused on Australia but they have international relevance.
The key points made during the presentations are available for downloading as
There have been recent reports
of leaf blight disease in cocoyams in Africa and Cameroon in particular. Cocoyam
is an important food source as a root vegetable and from its large and fleshy
leaves. It is a staple food in Cameroon, but is largely absent from the market
this year after the blight destroyed most of last year's crop. Cocoyam is known
by several names. In much of the world it is called taro but it is also known as
elephant ears, while in Nigeria and much of Cameroon it is cocoyam. The disease,
caused by Phytophthora colocasiae, isnew to Cameroon but was
already known in Malaysia and some other south-east Asian countries.
Grahame Jackson of PestNet (www.pestnet.org)
reports that PestNet moderators have offered to assist Cameroon, and that advice
can now be obtained from the edible aroids network (www.ediblearoids.org)
which started in March 2011. Resistant plants from the Pacific, from the South
Pacific Countries’ CePACT, are now in several countries in West Africa where
taro leaf blight has caused devastation.
Lettuce and Verticillium wilt disease
The centre of origin of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is
thought to have been the Near East and the Mediterranean region, but now it is
widely cultivated as a salad plant. The USA is the second greatest producer
after China and about half of its product comes from the central coast area of
California. A recent paper describes how lettuce in that area has become
affected by Verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium dahliae. The 2011
paper is Fifteen Years of Verticillium Wilt of Lettuce in America's Salad Bowl:
A Tale of Immigration, Subjugation, and Abatement. It is byZahi K
Atallah, Ryan J Hayes and Krishna V Subbarao and published in Plant Disease95 (7), 784-792.
Until the 1990s, lettuce was considered resistant to
Verticillium dahliae. In 1994, a farm in the Pajaro Valley, California,
reported a loss of the entire lettuce crop and Verticillium wilt was dismissed
as the potential cause, despite the fact that V. dahliae was the only
pathogen isolated from infected plants and its micro-sclerotia were recovered
from soil samples. In 1995, V. dahliae was isolated from infected plants
from the same fields and Koch's postulates were completed. Since 1995,
increasing levels of Verticillium wilt incidence have been reported. In 1999, it
was observed on lettuce in the neighbouring Salinas Valley, where most lettuce
production in the USA occurs. By 2010, disease foci had coalesced, and fields in
about a 50 km stretch of the prime lettuce production area had developed the
Determining Import Conditions for Materials into Australia
Australia is an island continent with a natural biota very
different from that of much of the rest of the world, and many precautions are
now taken about bringing materials into it. The Australian Quarantine and
Inspection Service (AQIS) is charged with the responsibility of managing these
AQIS has an import conditions database known as ICON. This
is a simple and convenient way to access information about Australian import
conditions for more than 20,000 plant, animal, microbial, mineral and human
commodities. It shows if a commodity intended for import to Australia needs a
quarantine permit and/or treatment or if there are any other quarantine
The ICON home page leads to its search system and also to key information,
and is claimed to be easy to use. ICON is updated immediately when changes are
made to import information, so it is a quick and easy way to stay in touch with
import requirements. Importers are advised that it is their responsibility also
to ensure compliance with the requirements of all other regulatory and advisory
bodies associated with importing commodities to Australia.
I thank Liz Dann, Elaine Davison, Greg Johnson and
Peter Williamson for their input to this issue.
The VII World Avocado
Congress in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
Conference of Australasian Postharvest Horticulture Conference
Organising Committee, the Australian Society for Horticultural
Science and the New Zealand Institute of Agriculture and
Horticulture Science on the theme “Horticulture for the Future” in
Lorne, Victoria, Australia.
18-22 September 2011.
“New technologies for
early pest and disease detection” an AAB conference at the Olde Barn
Hotel, Marston, Lincolnshire, UK.
Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP2013) in Beijing, China.
You-Liang Peng, Department of Plant Pathology, College of
Agriculture and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University,
Beijing 100193, PR China. Phone: +86-10-62733607; Fax: