Agricultural technology

by Deniz Ozkardas, Psychology major

Genetically modified food is a controversial topic about which many Americans are confused (Hallman et al, 2013). Is it a villain or superhero which could help feeding 10 billion guests on Planet Earth?

First : USDA defines Genetically modified foods as “the production of heritable improvements in plants or animals for specific uses, via either genetic engineering or other more traditional methods.: (USDA,2017)

In the last post, I explained a potential threat to exportation of pear crops in Turkey known as fire blight, a bacterial disease which causes plant to look like it burned its leaves and can lead to the death of the plant.

If fire blight can be crucial in commerce, could it be a global threat instead of a local concern?

To start with, I will compare two countries which is known for their pear industries; China and Turkey (Britannica,n.d).

A key difference between these countries is the difference of exportation.

China  is in global rise of fresh pear exportation whereas the recent reports suggest a declining trend in Turkey which was shown in the previous post.

China exported  6.706 tons of pear with 11.04 million USD revenue  in 2016 (Producereport,2016) whereas Turkey’s exportation declined from 677.843 to 419.445  kg in one year (April 2016-April 2017

From the 1980’s and onwards, agricultural biotechnology (using organisms in technology) become important in China to improve food security, farmers income, environment and human health (Huang &Wang,2002).

Technology could be one of the reasons behind China’s success in pear exportation since fire blight is also related to temperature (icenucleation + bacteries).

Moreover, fire blight resistant varieties which are currently developing  (Broggini et al,2014) demonstrates importance of technology in agriculture.

According to, which combines multiple databases worlwide, fire blight is absent in China whereas in Turkey it is widespread and regarded as invasive species. One problem is though the authors suggest that some cases might have been hidden by the authorities for protection of international trades.

However, technology in China might be the reason behind their success. Since fire blight is a big problem in pear production of Turkey such approach could mean a new economic avenue.

As a sidenote, it should be noted that trading is strongly the primary reason of introduction to USA.

For more information visit


I am a rising Sophomore studying Psychology with Architecture and Landscape Architecture minor. I am taking PP4597 class to learn more about plants and their impact.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.


Broggini, G., Wöhner, T., Fahrentrapp, J., Kost, T., Flachowsky, H., Peil, A., . . . Gessler, C. (2014). Engineering fire blight resistance into the apple cultivar

‘Gala’ using the FB _ MR 5 CC ‐ NBS ‐ LRR resistance gene of Malus  ×  robusta 5. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 12(6), 728-733. (n.d.).

Huang, J., & Wang, Q. (2002). Agricultural biotechnology development and policy in China. AgBioForum, 5(4), 122-135.

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2017). pear | tree and fruit.

Hallman, W., Cuite, C. and Morin, X. (2013). Public Perceptions of Labeling Genetically Modified Foods. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017]. (2017). Agricultural Biotechnology Glossary | USDA.

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