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Int’l Conference on Soil Remediation and Plant Protection (SRPP 2018)
March 23-25, 2018 | Guilin, China | Final Submission Due: Jan. 31, 2018
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Dear Colleagues,
As an influential international conference, SRPP 2018 provides the experts with a valued opportunity to communicate with each other. A lot of participants from many kinds of fields will join in this grand international conference.
Speakers
If you wish to serve the conference as an invited speaker, please send email to us with your CV for evaluation.
– Prof. M. E. Asadi, Golestan Agricultural and natural resources research and education center, Iran
Title: Healthy soils with conservation agriculture systems
– Prof. Muhammad Ashraf, University of Sargodha, Pakistan
Title: Integrated Nutrient Management: A Strategy for the Rehabilitation of Metal Polluted Soils
– Prof. Nativ Dudai, Newe Ya’ar Research Center, Israel
– Prof. Rifat Hayat, PMAS- Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan
– Prof. Rafiq Islam, Ohio State University South Centers, USA
– Prof. Yu-Cai Liao, Huazhong Agricultural University, China
Call for Papers
We cordially invite you to submit or recommend papers to our conference through paper submission system. All the accepted papers will be published by “Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection” (ISSN: 2327-4336). You’re also welcome to submit abstracts for oral presentation.
Contact Us
Any questions please do not hesitate to let me know.
Email: Rolinrolin@126.com

 

 

Fresh Plaza

Essential thyme oil reduces post-harvest anthracnose in organic bananas

Anthracnose in organic bananas is an aggressive post-harvest disease, which is difficult to control.

 “Essential oils have been studied to incorporate them into integrated pest management and reduce the use of synthetic fungicides during the post-harvest period. In vitro analyses showed that thyme oil is the best essential oil to control the mycelial growth of Colletotrichum musae,” explain technicians from the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Agro-industry of the

Escuela Politécnica Nacional di Quito (Ecuador).

This essential oil was tested in vivo due to its fungicidal effect. Results showed that, after storage and shelf-life at 20°C, severity inhibition on bananas treated with 500 μL/L of thyme oil (30.8%) was significantly higher than with other treatments. Moreover, 500 μL/L of thyme oil reduced weight loss, preserved colour and firmness and slowed the changes in chemical parameters in organic bananas during storage.

After the post-harvest period, the panel in charge of assessing the organoleptic qualities of bananas treated with thyme oil did not detect thyme odour and the appearance was considered to be better than that of untreated bananas. These results suggest that thyme oil could be potentially used to control anthracnose in organic bananas during the post-harvest period without a negative impact on their physical, chemical and sensory qualities.

Source: Vilaplana Rosa, Pazmiño Lenin, Valencia-Chamorro Silvia, ‘Control of anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum musae, on postharvest organic banana by thyme oil’, 2018, Postharvest Biology and Technology, Vol. 138, pag. 56-63.

 

Publication date: 1/18/2018

Uganda: GMO bananas

Plantwise Blog

Is It Time for Genetically Modified Bananas in Uganda?

banana-plantation-2098723_1920

Uganda is the world’s second largest producer of banana crop, with individuals consuming around 1.5 pounds of banana every day. Due to this major need for the success of banana crops within the country, plant pests and diseases are ever more threatening.

An example of this is with the invasion of banana bacterial wilt in the last decade, which was predicted to destroy 90% of Uganda’s banana crop at a loss of around $4 billion, however the spread was stopped after a series of expensive government interventions. With global warming threatening an increase in plant pest and disease spread on a global scale, it is not surprising that the country is considering the use of genetic modification as a solution to this issue.

Researchers have been undertaking field tests using disease resistant genetically modified (GM) bananas for years, however most countries in Africa ban farmers from commercially growing such crops. Until recently, South Africa was the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa to allow the commercial use of GM food. Uganda was added to the list of pro-GMO countries in October 2017, as parliament passed the National Biosafety Act 2017 which opens up agricultural biotechnology i.e. large scale field testing and the commercial use of GM crops.

Woman with bananas

“Finally, banana farmers will be able to access varieties of banana resistant to bacterial wilt, and the people, especially children, can finally eat bananas and other foods rich in Vitamin A” said Patrick Nanteza who works with the National Banana Programme in Kawanda.

For many, the passing of this bill is a daunting step, as it opens up the unexamined risks of producing and consuming GM crops. For more information in regards to the debate on the use of GMO’s commercially, please see the links below:

Biotechnology is a key component of the solution to the global demand for food and the increasing threats to food security. Specifically within Uganda, roughly 75% of the country is involved in agriculture; however there is a nation-wide food shortage due to recent climatic events. In 2017 alone, over 70% of the country’s arable land was affected by drought and unpredictable rainy seasons.

For further information on this subject, the original article published by PRI is available here:

 

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Tree Nut Farm Press

 

BMSB pistachio feeding trials Cecelia Parsons
Brown marmorated stink bug feeding on developing pistachios.

Brown marmorated stink bug: A threat to California nut crops?

The UCR research is part of a nationwide USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative-funded program to monitor and control brown marmorated stink bug.

Cecilia Parsons | Jan 17, 2018

Time will tell if California’s San Joaquin Valley climate is too hot and dry for the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) to become established and threaten the scores of specialty crops produced there.

This invasive pest has been found in Fresno County, but not in a commercial setting. Ricky Lara, University of California Riverside researcher, says Fresno and four more counties were added by California Department of Food and Agriculture to the list of places where BMSB had been found during 2017.

 Besides Fresno, the pest was found in Glenn, Napa, Nevada, and Orange counties. In total, it has been recorded in 34 California counties. In 2016, monitoring traps deployed in Stanislaus County by Jhalendra Rijal, University of California area IPM advisor, caught BMSB in a peach orchard.

Lara, along with Mark Hoddle, UC Extension specialist in entomology, is investigating the potential of the pest to affect commercial fruit and nut crops. The UCR research is part of a nationwide USDA Specialty Crop

Research Initiative-funded program to monitor and control BMSB. Funding from CDFA’s Specialty Block Grant Program has also been crucial in advancing BMSB management research for the benefit of California stakeholders. 

POTENTIAL PISTACHIO PROBLEM

Hoddle reports that BMSB can feed on pistachio crops and cause kernel necrosis. In addition to the potential for economic crop damage, Lara says, BMSB poses other challenges. It is a very strong flyer, and chemical control efforts alone could disrupt established integrated pest management strategies in production agriculture.

There are pesticides registered for stink bug control in pistachio and almond crops, but Lara says that due to the behavioral characteristics of the pest, they might not be entirely effective for control. Therefore, other avenues for control, such as the directed use of BMSB-specific natural enemies from China, are being explored.

BMSB is a native of Asia and arrived in the U.S. in the 1990s, where it caused damage to crops on the east coast. Lara says missing information on BMSB is its tolerance to hot temperatures in California. Climate data from parts of Asia where BMSB is thriving could give researchers more knowledge about the potential for its spread in California.

FIELD TESTS PLANNED

Field tests will be conducted this year, Lara says, exposing crops to BMSB feeding in order to determine the potential for economic damage. In some southern California counties where BMSB has been found, he says, it has been trapped on residential citrus, but it remains to be shown if commercial citrus is at risk.

There are two key natural enemies of stink bugs that have been evaluated for use as biological controls: resident predators and parasitoids that attack eggs of native stink bugs, and a wasp native to Asia that parasitizes BMSB eggs. The wasp, Trissolcus japonicus, better known as ‘samurai wasp,’ has been found in Oregon and Washington where BMSB have been found. Lara says part of this year’s research will be to place sentinel egg cards where BMSB has been found to see if the wasp is also in California.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

Adult BMSB has a typical stink bug shape, but it can be distinguished from native stink bugs of comparable color by the presence of white bands on antennae and legs, rounded shoulders, and a prominent light-dark banding pattern on the abdomen.

Eggs are barrel-shaped, white to pale green in color, and are laid as egg masses on leaves. Newly hatched nymphs resemble those of other resident stink bugs, so identification is much easier in adults.

Reproducing populations of BMSB will aggregate in the fall and move to protected places, including human-made structures, to overwinter. Adults become active in the spring when they feed. After mating the female lays eggs in clusters on plant material. There is at least one generation per year in California, but in warmer areas, two could be expected. UC Farm Advisor Chuck Ingels has detected at least two generations in Sacramento County.

Lara says a trapping strategy is being used in Fresno County to monitor the spread of BMSB populations. The find there by local UC researchers was in close proximity to State Route 41.

Science

Hannah Wood/Smithsonian

This strange looking ‘pelican spider’ has a birdlike jaw—and a taste for other spiders

Spiders don’t often resemble birds, but pelican spiders—which use beaklike mouthparts to spear other arachnids—are a notable exception. The group of rice-size animals were first discovered in a 50-million-year-old slab of amber and were thought to be extinct until live pelican spiders were spotted in Madagascar in 1881. Only 19 species were known to occur on the African island, but that number has doubled with the discovery of 18 new species, researchers report today in ZooKeys. Scientists made the breakthrough by looking at hundreds of pelican spiders under a microscope. Though they all had “beaks,” some sported longer mouthparts, and others had more spines—a good sign that they were members of different species. Pelican spiders use their elongated mouthparts—shown protruding from the right side of the pictured spider’s “head”—to snatch unsuspecting spiders and hold them at a distance while they inject venom and wait for them to die. It’s a nifty strategy, but one that could be in peril if Madagascar’s forests continue to disappear. The birdlike arachnids also prowl the forests of South Africa and Australia, but the newly discovered pelican spiders are found only in Madagascar.

Inside Science

Device to Detect Pesticide Residue on Produce May Soon Be Available

An inexpensive handheld sensor may simplify testing for pesticides on fruits and vegetables – but won’t replace government monitoring.

Produce.jpg

Images shows fruit and vegetable displays in a supermarket

Image credits: Aaron Fulkerson via Flickr

Rights information: CC BY-SA 2.0

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 – 15:30

Valerie Brown, Contributor

(Inside Science) — Pesticides are an important part of modern farming. But the very word now sounds sinister to many people’s ears, thanks to controversy over their use and safety.

The U.S. federal government has mechanisms intended to protect people from dangerous pesticide exposure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets the allowable residue levels, called tolerances, in foods, and the Food and Drug Administration tests selected products annually, as does the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When violations for excessive pesticide residues or unregistered chemicals are found, the FDA is the enforcer.

But the government’s monitoring practices have come under fire for their incompleteness and lack of statistical validity, and many environmental activists take issue with assurances of pesticides’ safety.

What if a shopper could whip out a handheld device to measure the identity and quantity of pesticides on her produce? Just such a device is being developed by Shalini Prasad, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Texas at Dallas. Prasad wants to disrupt the current system for monitoring pesticide residues by empowering growers, organic food certifiers, grocers and consumers to check for themselves.

How does it work?

To test for pesticides, users simply pass a swab over the fruit or vegetable, insert the swab into the detector and wait about 30 seconds. A green light on the face of the device means the pesticide residue is under the EPA tolerance; a red light means the opposite.

The detector requires one swab per chemical and can identify up to 24 chemicals. That ought to be enough to cover the most widespread and problematic pesticides, said Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In a 2012 study published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Prasad established the device’s workability using atrazine, the most common herbicide detected in drinking and groundwater, which is used as a weedkiller but has also been found to disrupt amphibian sexual development. She expects that her $20 device could hit the market about 18 months after she secures startup funding.

Different opinions

Prasad’s device is one of many new sensor technologies. Portable sensors are “easy to use, fast, potentially low cost, and very sensitive. You don’t have to be a specialist to do the analysis,” said Omowunmi Sadik, director of the Center for Research in Advanced Sensing Technologies and Environmental Sustainability at SUNY Binghamton, who is not involved with Prasad’s sensor.

But others are more skeptical. Ray McAllister, Senior Director for Regulatory Policy at CropLife America, a pesticide industry trade group, doubts that any device based on swabbing the outside of a fruit could really work. “If you take a swab, you’re only looking at a small part of the fruit or vegetable,” he said. “You might miss the residue entirely.” When produce is sampled for regulatory testing in a certified analytical laboratory, multiple pieces of the same fruit or vegetable are ground up together, he said. McAllister doubts the effectiveness of Prasad’s sensor because “if there were residue in the interior you wouldn’t find it.” Additionally, if the test found nothing, he said, you couldn’t be sure that the entire surface was safe.

Others say the sensor doesn’t go far enough to protect the public. The Organic Consumers Association is pressing for complete elimination of pesticides from the agricultural system, rather than incremental changes in allowable residues. The group recently tested Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and found small amounts of the widely used herbicide glyphosate in 10 of 11 samples. The association’s associate director Katherine Paul said, “We’re testing for residues far below what government agencies say are safe because we don’t believe those levels are safe. You’d kind of give consumers a false sense of security.”

Prasad stressed that her sensor is not intended to replace certified lab tests, but said it is far more sensitive — its nanoporous aluminum oxide membrane can accurately measure single pesticide molecules on individual food products rather than the larger batches necessary for lab analyses. So the cost to test a single fruit or vegetable is on the order of pennies, which adds to the value of the device as a quick, portable and affordable field test.

The regulatory system

Interest in a handheld pesticide sensor may reflect dissatisfaction with the current regulatory system, which Sass calls “dysfunctional.”

When a pesticide is first registered or the manufacturer wants to apply it to a new crop, the manufacturer tells the EPA how much is left on the commodity when the pesticide is used according to directions. The agency uses these data to set a “tolerance” — the maximum residue allowed — specifically for each crop the pesticide will be used on. Separately, the EPA estimates a reference dose — the maximum amount considered safe if consumed daily for 70 years — based on toxicity data from animal tests, also provided by the manufacturer. The two levels are combined with an added “safety factor” (which lowers the allowance by one or two orders of magnitude to err on the side of caution) to arrive at an estimate of the total allowable exposure from all sources that would protect public health.

Generally, the FDA finds that most U.S. produce contains residues below the EPA tolerances. Violations are detected much more frequently on imported foods. The FDA’s monitoring program focuses most on products, countries, or producers that have had past violations and on the most commonly consumed foods.

If the EPA’s risk analysis is accurate and the FDA and USDA sampling systems provide a true picture of how much pesticide residue is on domestic and imported produce, consumers should be safe. But critics challenge both these assumptions.

Many researchers say standard toxicology tests may not identify all of a chemical’s hazards. “These studies typically examine very high doses, and look for overt signs of toxicity — like severe loss of body weight or death. Yet academic studies have demonstrated that low doses can induce adverse effects as well,” said Laura Vandenberg, a developmental biologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Thus established tolerances may not be fully protective.

A 2014 General Accountability Office report found serious flaws in the FDA’s monitoring methods. Because the agency targets specific commodities that have shown past violation and does not randomly sample from the entire spectrum of agricultural products, the GAO said, “FDA cannot reliably evaluate the extent to which its monitoring program detects and intercepts violations at a rate greater than random chance.” In addition, the report stated that the FDA does not test for violations of the established tolerances for several common pesticides.

For example, nearly 300 million pounds of glyphosate, the world’s most widely-used herbicide and the active ingredient in Roundup, are applied annually to U.S. farms. This is almost 300 times the amount applied in 1974, the year it was first registered, and the EPA has raised allowable glyphosate residues several times. Yet until 2017 the FDA did not monitor glyphosate because it was not detectable using the standard multi-chemical testing protocol. Once the agency developed a test specifically for the herbicide, it analyzed glyphosate residues in soybeans, corn, milk and eggs. Preliminary results showed no residue violations in these foods. The FDA plans to add other foods in 2018. Glyphosate’s status as a carcinogen is hotly disputed, with the International Agency for Research on Cancer ruling that it “probably” is and the EPA deciding it isn’t.

Who would use it?

Prasad’s sensor could potentially serve a variety of testing or screening roles. Growers could use the device to check for the unintended spread of pesticides beyond the targeted fields, and the device might be used to monitor farmworker exposures, said Carl Winter, professor of food science and technology at the University of California at Davis, who is not involved in the project.

Prasad’s sensor could also be useful for organic certifying organizations, which are licensed by the USDA to test foods and other products claimed to be organic. Connie Karr, certification director at Oregon Tilth, a USDA-accredited non-profit, said that Prasad’s pesticide sensor “sounds really promising.” Although it would not replace tests by analytical laboratories, results from the handheld sensor could help the inspector decide if further followup was needed, she added.

Consumers might also want to use the sensor to test produce themselves in the store.

Annie Fulkerson, former owner of the Oasis Fine Food Marketplace in Eugene, Oregon, said there is a potential for “chaos” if the device were inaccurate and shoppers accused the store of misleading them. But if accurate, the device could lead to a productive conversation between grocers and their customers, Fulkerson added. She thought a better use would be for wholesalers and others up the supply chain to use the device to monitor products as they come through.

Prasad agrees that the best use of her sensor will be from the top down – -for large grocery companies, growers, wholesalers and others to monitor their wares before they get to the shopper. But she definitely sees the sensor as a consumer product too. “Despite what the retailer would feel,” Prasad added, “this will become a consumer end product, primarily because of everybody being invested in their own health.”

McAllister worries that false positives could scare consumers, and false negatives could make them complacent.

Winter, meanwhile, considers the federal monitoring system to be trustworthy, and fears that consumers using the device might be frightened unnecessarily. “I don’t see a big health benefit to consumers for something like this, and I see the potential [for something like this] to exploit consumers,” he said.

But in a world where portable devices and medical wearables give individuals the opportunity and burden to manage their own health, this argument may not always be persuasive. Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, observed that the residue levels considered safe by regulatory agencies continue to change as we gain a better understanding of how pesticides affect sensitive populations like developing fetuses. The average person, she said, might want to avoid products with residues altogether. Prasad hopes her sensor might give such people the chance to take control of their own risk.

 

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SW FarmPress

What could Huanglongbing look like in your citrus?

Todd Fitchette | Jan 05, 2018

Photographs show visual symptoms of Huanglongbing in residential citrus trees in southern California. These symptoms are similar across the growing regions of the United States.

 

The proliferation of the fatal citrus disease called Huanglongbing (HLB) in urban neighborhoods across the Los Angeles Basin can be traced to the introduction of the Asian citrus psyllid into California about a decade ago. Since the invasive pest was first discovered near San Diego it has become widely established in southern California and has been found as far north as the Bay Area and Sacramento region.

Critical to commercial growers, the pest has been found in growing regions of Ventura, Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties.

These photos were provided by the California Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program and reveal visual symptoms of the disease. These symptoms are similar across other U.S. states. Each of them is of a citrus tree – lime, mandarin and orange – that tested positive for HLB. Those tests were conducted based in part on visual inspections of the trees and other warning signs regulators look for.

In the past couple years the disease manifested itself in urban neighborhoods from San Gabriel and Riverside to Anaheim. As of early January, more than 300 trees have tested positive for HLB. California law mandates that these trees be removed once they test positive. To date all of these trees have been in residential neighborhoods. None of them were reported in commercial groves.

Symptoms include a yellowing of leaves and, in advanced stages of HLB, bitter and misshapen fruit. Fruit on diseased trees does not ripen completely (fruit tends to remain green on the bottom while ripening or coloring on the top of the fruit), which is why HLB is also known as “citrus greening disease.”

It is important to distinguish HLB-like symptoms with potential nutrient deficiency in citrus trees. In the case of HLB, the yellowing on leaves will be asymmetrical, meaning the yellow blotching on one side of the midrib of the leaf won’t be matched by yellowing on the opposite side of the leaf.

Yellowing of tree leaves with nutrient deficiencies tends to be symmetrical.

It is important to note that the trees in these photos are all non-commercial, residential trees. This suggests that the trees may also be deficient in various nutrients as homeowners do not likely apply nutrients to them, or even water them correctly. Nevertheless, the asymmetrical yellowing is indicative of HLB and should be further investigated.

It is important with any such symptoms to consult an expert – a pest control advisor, Cooperative Extension advisor or state citrus inspector – to determine the next step if tree leaves are turning yellow. That by itself is not proof of the disease, but can be an indicator of disease or a nutrient deficiency. The only recognized diagnosis for HLB is what is commonly called the “PCR test.” Certain labs are authorized to do this test.

Growers outside of California should carefully consider their own state and local regulations when it comes to HLB and the insect that vectors the disease.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has an online resource for growers and residents to contact if they have questions. The USDA offers a similar online resource.