The Motivation You Needed to Get More Plants

By Malia Musso – Accounting Major, The Ohio State University

Most people have probably noticed that almost every household or personal space features trendy plants as a part of the décor. I’ve recently felt the appeal of a room filled with plants. Something about it makes me feel more relaxed, and somehow makes my rooms feel brighter and homier. However, like most new plant owners, I’ve learned that taking care of a wide range of plants is much harder than just dumping some water on them on occasion. I’ve had my issues, and with the help of some research and consulting some people who truly have a green thumb, I feel that I can offer some advice to those who may want to start their own little garden but feel they need a little help.

First off, different types of plants require different types of care. I had a beautiful little plant called a mosaic, and I followed the watering instructions, once weekly, and within about a month, the leaves began to turn brown and become brittle and then fall. Not much later, my little mosaic died. I went back to the store where I purchased the plant and asked why this happened, and I learned that the leaves of a mosaic plant are extremely thin and it should not be put in direct light or the leaves will literally burn, much like how exposing our skin to the hot sun causes sunburn… Well, lesson learned.

Next, there are plants called succulents, and besides the fact that they are highly trendy right now, I would absolutely recommend them. Succulent plants store water in their thick and firm leaves. These plants are great for beginners because they only need to be watered every other week or sometimes only monthly. They’re very hard to kill . . . But these types of plants require direct sunlight, cannot be over watered, and will droop and become soft without proper care.

Lastly, preventing mold from growing in a plant’s soil has been quite a challenge of mine. Starting with fresh uncontaminated soil is very important. Also, you must make sure there is adequate drainage in your pot: a hole in the bottom or a layer of rocks. Placing a fan nearby can also help excess water evaporate, and using clay pots instead of glass allows for water to evaporate more easily.

Bio

I am in my fourth year at the Ohio State University studying accounting. I am very interested in the food industry and learning about food labels, production, and growing techniques in the US.

Ideas: www.homemydesign.com

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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.

Not Just in Our Fridge : Genetically Modified Orchids in our houses?

blue orchid

From Greenhouse Grower http://www.greenhousegrower.com/production/plant-culture/genetic-modification-produces-true-blue-orchid/

by Deniz Ozkardas, Psychology Major

It might seem that genetic engineering for Orchidacae family, popularly known as orchids is out of question.

However, breeding strategies, genetics and genetic engineering are very crucial for their commercial success.

Orchids are one of the species in which the breeding diversity occurs naturally. Relationship between orchid pollinator and flower, drifting and natural selection are one of the few that can explain such diversity.

Its reproductive strategies such as the release of millions of embryos to earth can be also accounted in why they became one of the most diverse species with estimation of 25.000> (Hsiao et al, 2011).

Yet their economic potential enforce breeders to reply needs of the market.

A selective method of breeding is used to preserve orchids genes. In order to acquire fragrant flowers or specific shapes (e.g harlequin orchids that are dotted), nurseries pick specific hybrids. Awarded orchids are cloned to ensure no mutations occur and such orchids are much more expensive since they are praised and regarded as rarities.

Since such breeding requires great time and effort, supermarkets often sell NOID breeds, which are an abbreviation for no identity. However, it must be noted that a more complex genetic engineering do exist in orchids rather than selective breeding.

Orchids varieties that have large flowers (> 4 in.), with less common, intense colors (e.g. red and orange) and a heavy substance, fragrance are classified as novelty (Bigleaforchids,2017). In their breeding, ploidy (def. number of sets of chromosomes in a cell) is detrimental in how the genes would show themselves.

For example, pod parent or pollen parent may determine the expression of dominant (visible) traits (Slippertalk, 2017). What this means is that breeders have to carefully assess genetic material and their expression. These techniques can be defined as advanced hybridizing and cloning technology.

Although these techniques are widely used today, the idea of genetic engineering in orchids is also currently investigated.

Dr. Masahiro Mii at Chiba University found that when flavonoid (def. plant compounds that include pigments in ranging color) 3’,5’-hydroxylase gene  was incorporated to phalaenopsis, it produced delphinidin which gives blue color.

Current research also demonstrates that fragrant species are conceptually possible. Since some desirable fragrances are very limited to certain species, this could mean a potential avenue for orchid growers in future (Chandler &Sanchez,2012).

In a probable future, GMO orchids will be in our homes as decorations.

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I am a Rising Sophomore at OSU and want to find out how plants and contemporary issues are intertwined.

References

BigLeafOrchids. (2017). Big Leaf Orchid forum • View topic – What Exactly is a Novelty Phalaenopsis…. [online] Available at: http://www.phalaenopsis.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8979 [Accessed 30 Jul. 2017].

Chang, Y. and Wang, Y. (2017). Genetic Modification Produces True Blue Orchid | Greenhouse Grower. [online] Greenhouse Grower.  [Accessed 30 Jul. 2017].

Chandler, S., & Sanchez, C. (2012). Genetic modification; the development of transgenic ornamental plant varieties. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 10(8), 891-903.

Hsiao, Yu-Yun, Pan, Zhao-Jun, Hsu, Chia-Chi, Yang, Ya-Ping, Hsu, Yi-Chin, Chuang, Yu-Chen, . . . Chen, Hong-Hwa. (2011). Research on Orchid Biology and Biotechnology. Plant and Cell Physiology, 52(9), 1467-1486.

Merriam-webster.com. (2017). Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America’s most-trusted online dictionary. [online] Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com [Accessed 30 Jul. 2017].

Phalaenopsis.net. (2017). Big Leaf Orchid forum • View topic – Lovely novelty Phalaenopsis. [online] Available at: http://phalaenopsis.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14968 [Accessed 30 Jul. 2017].

Slippertalk.com. (2017). Pollen versus Pod parent – Slippertalk Orchid Forum- The best slipper orchid forum for paph, phrag and other lady slipper orchid discussion!. [online] Available at: http://www.slippertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17722 [Accessed 30 Jul. 2017].

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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.

The Unselfish Shellfish

by Abigail Newburger, Jewish Studies

In today’s world, people preserve fresh produce in various ways to protect its integrity during the journey from farm to market to table. Plastic containers, wraps, and preservatives are used to keep our fresh foods staying fresh. What is not so noticeable is the negative impact it has on the environment.

The waste from the food industry’s plastics have negative effects on the environment. These range from clogging water ways and harming aquatic life to creating waste that is non-biodegradable. A solution that could fix these problems is called Chitosan.

Chitosan is derived from Chitin found in the shells of shrimps and other crustaceans and can be transformed into coatings or pseudo-plastic wraps. These shells are discarded every day and are in abundant and recurring supply. Dr. Cait Murray-Green, the Chief Executive Officer of Cuantec (a Scottish company that specifically deals with developing Chitosan), says, “…there is enough chitosan in shellfish alone for the whole world to use Chitosan-based food packaging.”[1]

According to Associate Professor Thian Eng San from the National University of Singapore, “…increasing attention has been placed on the development of food packaging material with antimicrobial and antifungal properties, in order to improve food safety, extend shelf-life and to minimize the use of chemical preservatives.”[2]

Chitosan is biodegradable and preserves the integrity of fresh produce during the duration of its shelf-life. In fact, studies have proven that Chitosan also increases the shelf-life of produce because it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.[3] By switching to Chitosan treatments and methods, there would be less waste from the food industry.

Plastics pollute water ways and are thrown into landfills where they create environmental issues. Looking worldwide, there are almost two hundred and eighty million tons of plastic produced per year, most of which ends up in landfills or the oceans.[4] The negative impacts of plastic after its primary use outweighs its positive applications.

Abigail Newburger is a fifth-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University. Originally from Potomac, Maryland she is hoping to move back to the Greater Washington D.C. area to work in the nonprofit sector.

Sources:

A new force in the fight against food waste. (2017, March 7). Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://www.strath.ac.uk/whystrathclyde/news/anewforceinthefightagainstfoodwaste/

Eco-friendly, chitosan-based food packaging material doubles shelf life of food products. (2016, February 23). Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://phys.org/news/2016-02-eco-friendly-chitosan-based-food-packaging-material.html

Sakif, T.I., Dobriansky, A., Russell, K. and Islam, T. (2016) Does Chitosan Extend the Shelf Life of Fruits? Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 7, 337-342. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/abb.2016.78032

Sigler, M. (2014). The Effects of Plastic Pollution on Aquatic Wildlife: Current Situations and Future Solutions. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 225(11). doi:10.1007/s11270-014-2184-6

[1] A new force in the fight against food waste. (2017, March 7). Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://www.strath.ac.uk/whystrathclyde/news/anewforceinthefightagainstfoodwaste/

[2] Eco-friendly, chitosan-based food packaging material doubles shelf life of food products. (2016, February 23). Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://phys.org/news/2016-02-eco-friendly-chitosan-based-food-packaging-material.html

[3] Sakif, T.I., Dobriansky, A., Russell, K. and Islam, T. (2016) Does Chitosan Extend the Shelf Life of Fruits? Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 7, 337-342. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/abb.2016.78032

[4] Sigler, M. (2014). The Effects of Plastic Pollution on Aquatic Wildlife: Current Situations and Future Solutions. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 225(11). doi:10.1007/s11270-014-2184-6

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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.

Share Agriculture’s Stories

by Alec Miller, Sustainable Plant Systems major

I just wanted to talk about how far the public is away from agriculture. Last summer I went to the Ohio State fair for a day. We were walking around and saw that the dairy barn had a cow outside and was showing the public where milk came from and how it was produced. I thought this was a very cool thing. What blew my mind is how many people did not know where the milk came from. To me it’s crazy to think people don’t know where their food comes from as if it just magically appears in the store. Us agriculturists need to step it up a little and help inform the public on what we do for a living and how passionate we are about doing it. The fair helps this but I think schools need to step their game up and help us out. I think our agriculture department needs to set up seminars and boots at the market to help inform people. How can people buy something without knowing what they are really buying? We farmers can help by inviting people out to our farms. I would gladly invite the public out and show them where the food comes from and why we do it. It’s not just for us but it’s for everyone we feed. The passion for farming is starting to decrease as the prices decrease. Left and right small farms are being bought out by the big farmers who are in it for the money. They don’t care that the public doesn’t know what they do as long as their check comes in the mail. So I believe we should come together and help inform everyone around us about what we do and why we do it.

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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.

The Damage of Weeping Willows

by Sierra Mayle, Animal Sciences major

Even the most beautiful and extensively breathtaking of nature and life itself sometimes brings about unforeseen implications. The Weeping Willow is one of those tress that has the capability to cause infrastructural damage and thousands of dollars in repair when not properly secured.

The elongated and unconventional root structure of this tree is one that can carry out its growth to compromise pavement, structures, or water and pipe lines.

How is this possible? Like the powerlines that make up our system of electricity, these trees have an intricate network of roots that can grow up to 100 feet from the trunk itself. The foliage that is produced can range from 45 to 70 feet wide.

Because there is such an elongated and complicated root system, they need to be planted in a spacious area. They hold the capacity to grow roots above and below ground, and preferably should be planted farther away from other trees to prevent root competition.

A preventative measure is using a system called root barriers. In essence, it prohibits the roots from destroying water or sewer lines. Physical barriers constructed from metal or plastic can help limit destruction of any structures or lines. It is important to note using plastic or metal barriers can obstruct proper water drainage in the soil. It has also been stated that wire mesh can be used.

Knowing that there are preventative measures, using barriers is most effective when they are buried at a length of at least 3 feet. In order for this system to be most effective, it will need to run the entirety of the structure to ensure the roots cannot grow around the placed barriers. When not installed properly, it only prolongs potential damage this tree can inflict.

Source

SF GATE: The Root System of a Weeping Willow

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Sierra Mayle is a junior at The Ohio State University, studying animal sciences. She likes to spend her time reading novels, playing video games, and playing with her three dogs and ferret. She does not enjoy fruits or vegetables.

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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.

Why Livestock Should be fed Genetically Modified Crops

by Ryan Jeon, Biological Engineering

Cow: Been there done that

Cow: Been there done that

One of the topics we learned in this class was the incredibly large issue of genetically modified organisms. Ranging from areas such as international policy, world hunger, businesses, to veterinary medicine, this technological innovation encapsulates a diverse range of global topics. One of which, is a growing area of concern: should we feed our livestock genetically modified crops?

Signs in field

More and more farm land is being urbanized and converted into land unsuitable for agriculture. Water resources have begun to dwindle, and recent legislation has caused food prices to shoot up. With all these problems, how can we create agricultural practices that allow us to grow sustainable food with dwindling land and water?

farm and city

Well genetically modified crops are plants that humans have purposefully changed to provide us with a trait that we want. Humans have been doing this for a long time, but now we’ve come to a technological innovation that allows us to combine fragments of DNA from bacteria and other organisms, with plants. This gives the plants unique benefits, such as larger yield, disease resistance, drought tolerant, or even something subtle, like requiring less land or water.

Opressive weather

“Opressive weather”

With the global population exponentially rising, these are important traits that are necessary to feed our growing population. Likewise, we need food that can feed our livestock, such as cattle and eggs. Genetically modified crops, like corn and wheat, can provide livestock with food that requires significantly less water and land. With our water resource draining away every day from livestock, in addition to more farmland being converted to suburbs or cities, we need crops and livestock that don’t require as much land. In addition, these plants can grow larger, faster, and more fruitful, allowing prices for crops to be cheaper.

However, from the public’s perspective, they’re going to want to know how this might affect them, their food, their family, or the environment.

Ideally the public may ask, with a curious mind,

Ted

“I’d like to know, will there be toxins from the eggs from chickens that are fed GMO corn?”

If they are worried, I’d tell them that it is important to understand that the FDA carefully regulates all food that enters the market. A research study done by UC Davis has concluded that there are no nutritional differences between beef that are fed GMO products and those that haven’t. In addition, the study shows that extensive research has been done to make sure that there is no residues from the GM crops that make it into the milk. There are no deadly prions, no DNA fragments, no nothing. It makes sense too-if it wasn’t safe to eat, then the FDA wouldn’t allow it without a warning sign. So enjoy your slightly-cheaper-steak without the worry that the cow it came from ate GM crops.

Ideally, they might say thank you for your time, and proceed to share their newly earned knowledge with other people.

But sometimes you might meet someone more like this . . .

Man Yelling

If that’s the case, there is an alternative option: organic beef.

"Organically Grown Cow"

“Organically Grown Cow”

 

Sources:

Raising Beef: factsaboutbeef.com/2013/09/03/safety-first-the-role-of-gmos-in-cattle-feed

 

Biography:

My name is Ryan and I am a 6th year bio-engineering student. I am minoring in both Animal Sciences and Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and I aspire to put my engineering skills to use in the veterinary world.

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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.

Japan Places Tariff on U.S. Beef

by Grant Hodge

In case you did not see the news lately, the Japanese Ministry of Finance just announced a tariff increase on beef from multiple countries including the U.S. According to a Japan Today article the increase would raise the tariff by 11.5%. This is unfortunate for U.S. beef producers that are already battling low prices and a growing large supply of beef. There is potential that this tariff could have a large effect on U.S. beef prices since Japan is the largest buyer of U.S. chilled and frozen beef. I found it interesting that Australia and Mexico will not be affected by this tariff because of already established trade deals with Japan (Japan Today).  This should create a great opportunity for these countries to grow their beef businesses.

There is a lot of controversy and hurt feelings over the passage of this tariff, and rightfully so. However it is important to respect Japan’s decision to raise the tariff in order to protect their farmers. They have to look out for their own first and make sure they are taking care of their farmers because if we were in their shoes, we would probably do the exact same. However for the U.S. beef market’s sake I dearly hope that other countries do not follow suit with this action.

This issue is important and something that I do not think gets the attention it deserves sometimes. From an economic perspective, if prices were to fall this would lead to herd reduction and less demand for corn and soybeans for feed. If crop prices fall this can affect a number of things in the marketplace like fuel for example that we need and use every day. It is amazing how the whole market is connected and how a major change in one place can change everything else down the line. To me this emphasizes the importance of issues such as this, the unfortunate part about it is that there isn’t too much that we can do about it.

Works Cited

Japan beef tariff hike threatens trade relations: U.S.Japan Today. N.p., 28 July 2017. Web. 30 July 2017.

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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.

Genetically Modified Organisms

usda organiic and Non GMO labelsby Abigail Hill, Sustainable Plant Systems Agronomy major

In today’s world, there is budding curiosity and stigma around genetically modified organisms.  The labels above have crept their way into grocery stores shelves and into the minds of the concerned public. The nonGMO and Organic industries have presented genetically modified foods as dangerous to the public. The public is led to believe that genetically modified organisms are dangerous and unhealthy options. Mothers are concerned for the health and wellbeing of their children. But, are nonGMO and organic options truly better for you? In today’s world, there is budding curiosity and stigma around genetically modified organisms.  The labels above have crept their way into grocery stores shelves and into the minds of the concerned public. The nonGMO and Organic industries have presented genetically modified foods as dangerous to the public. The public is led to believe that genetically modified organisms are dangerous and unhealthy options. Mothers are concerned for the health and wellbeing of their children. But, are nonGMO and organic options truly better for you?

1. Genetically Modified Organisms have been around for centuries

The first forms of genetic modification started as “selective breeding” and “artificial selection” in animals as well as early plant varieties. For example, modern dog breeds were developed through the selective breeding of wolves and their offspring. Through trials of breeding and crossings, that took hundreds of years, the multitude of modern dog breed varieties were developed.

2. Genetically Modified Organisms are in foods that no one suspects

By selective breeding and genetically modifying plants in the early ages, we have manipulated these in-edible plants into the fruits and vegetables we know today. For example, the banana used to be full of seeds. It was bred to produce more fruit and no seeds. Another example would be seedless grapes, modern watermelon, and my previous example of corn. According to the Ohio State University Extension, about 80-95% of today’s cotton, corn, and soybeans are genetically engineered. These crops have been modified to increase insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. The benefits from these modifications include less insect and herbicide damage, increasing potential yield. According to the Ohio State University Extension, about 80-95% of today’s cotton, corn, and soybeans are genetically engineered. These crops have been modified to increase insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. The benefits from these modifications include less insect and herbicide damage, increasing potential yield.

3. Are nonGMO and organic foods healthier?

According to the Ohio State University Extension, about 80-95% of today’s cotton, corn, and soybeans are genetically engineered. These crops have been modified to increase insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. The benefits from these modifications include less insect and herbicide damage, increasing potential yield.

4. Animals have been genetically modified

GMO’s to create breeds and target specific traits in animals. For example, race horses have been bred from the regular horse.  The genes selected to make the racehorse we know today are higher muscle content and speed. By choosing the traits that are desired, we are able to develop an animal with traits that will fit our needs and desires.  Another concern from the public, is not only the animals being modified, but also the animals consuming the modified foods. The majority of livestock consume a diet of corn, soybeans, and hay or grass. Corn and soybeans are two of the most widely genetically modified crops. The European Union published a separate study to examine the health of the animals consuming feeds containing genetically modified crops. The study examined one-hundred billion animals examined after eating genetically modified crops. This took place over twenty-five years of research. They found “no unfavorable trends in livestock health and productivity. In fact, during the period studied, animal health and growth efficiency actually improved.”

Conclusion

The thorough studies of the European Union concluded that there are no substantial differences between genetically modified and nonGMO crops in terms of food safety or environmental impacts. They also concluded that GMOs are no more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies. The process of engineering crops and animals is not a new idea, and has been put into practice for hundreds of years. It is one’s own personal opinion on what they decide to put into their bodies.

About the Author

Abigail Hill is a student at The Ohio State University, majoring in Sustainable Plant Systems: Agronomy, with a minor in Agricultural Systems Management. She is the Vice President of the Ducks Unlimited club on campus. She was born and raised on a family farm in central Ohio.  She was as an Ohio State Extension Intern in Pickaway and Madison Counties.

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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.

True or False: Bananas Going Extinct

Cavendish banana

Cavendish banana

by Kori Goldberg, Master in Environment and Natural Resources

Introduction: The banana is one of the world’s most popular fruits but the cultivar we are familiar with does face an uncertain future. Interestingly, this would not be the first time society has had to adopt a new mass-produced banana cultivar.

Background: The Gros Michel cultivar, considered high quality because of its resilience, longer shelf-life, creaminess, and better taste, was the most popularly grown banana until the 1950s (Stergiopoulos et al., 2016; Prisco, 2016). By 1965 nearly every Gros Michel plantation in the world had succumbed to the fungal disease Fusarium wilt (Stergiopoulos et al., 2016). The soil-dwelling fungus targeted the roots and vascular system making it impossible for banana plants to uptake necessary water and nutrients. Producers found a reasonable substitute in the resilient Cavendish cultivar, the banana we recognize today as the standard supermarket banana.

Cavendish susceptibility: Banana species of diverse colors, shapes, and sizes exist but the Cavendish banana is a monocrop, meaning each banana of this species is genetically identical. While this helps with economies of scale for producers and reduces the chance of imperfections, low genetic diversity does make Cavendish bananas extremely susceptible to threats (Ordonez et al., 2015).

Main Concern: Although the Cavendish cultivar was initially chosen for its immunity to Panama Disease, a new strain called Tropical Race 4 has caused recent problems for growers in Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia but has not yet reached Latin America, the largest producer and exporter of bananas (Ferdman, 2015). Cavendish bananas have also shown recent susceptibility to Black Sigatoka, a fungus that causes leaf deterioration resulting in poor photosynthesis and lower quality fruit (Cordoba and Jansen, 2014; Stergiopoulos et al., 2016).

Management: Both fungi do not respond well to fungicide application. Growers routinely apply fungicide more than 50 times per growing season to manage Black Sigatoka (Stergiopoulos et al., 2016).  Intense fungicide use can be expensive and may cause impacts to the environment, human and wildlife health, and make the fungus more resistant. Since Tropical Race 4 grows and remains in the soil it is difficult to eradicate once it has established on a plantation.

The best management option remains prevention. Soil transfer from banana plantations should be limited as much as possible and plants, materials, and equipment should be cleaned thoroughly to prevent contamination. The development of new, genetically diverse banana cultivars is also recommended by scientists to increase resilience (Ordonez et al., 2015).

Bottom Line: The Cavendish banana is at risk for eventual commercial extinction if management of these fungi is not successful.

 Kori Goldberg is a student at The Ohio State University pursuing her Master’s in Environment and Natural Resources. In her free time she loves to be outside, whether climbing, kayaking, or enjoying green spaces in Columbus.

For more information, see Worse Comes to Worst: Bananas and Panama Disease—When Plant and Pathogen Clones Meet, available at http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005197.

Works Cited (MLA)

Cordoba, Diana, and Kees Jansen. “Same Disease-different research strategies: Bananas and Black Sigatoka in Brazil and Colombia.” Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 35.3 (2014): 345-61. Web.

Ferdman, Roberto A. “Bye, bye, bananas.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 04 Dec. 2015. Web. 24 July 2017.

Ordonez, Nadia, Michael F. Seidl, Cees Waalwijk, André Drenth, Andrzej Kilian, Bart P. H. J. Thomma, Randy C. Ploetz, and Gert H. J. Kema. “Worse Comes to Worst: Bananas and Panama Disease—When Plant and Pathogen Clones Meet.” PLOS Pathogens 11.11 (2015): n. pag. Web.

Prisco, Jacopo. “Why bananas as we know them might go extinct (again).” CNN. Cable News Network, 08 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

Stergiopoulos, Ioannis, Andre Drenth, and Gert Kema. “Can science stop looming banana extinction?” CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Oct. 2016. Web. 23 July 2017.

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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.

Missing Fish

by Ethan Dolby, Economics

History

Since the dawn of time human civilizations have mostly turned to regions close to a large water source like oceans, lakes and rivers as a location to live. This is because large bodies of water provide many benefits. First and foremost they provide easy access to water which after all is one of the essential ingredients to human life. Bodies of water also provide ample amounts of food in the form of fish. In fact, in regions near a large body of water, harvesting fish is one of the biggest economic drivers. There needs to be captains for the ships, deckhands to catch the fish. Dock workers who maintain the ships and clean the fish. Factory workers who process and export the fish to other areas. Finally, restaurants, hotels, bars etc. that provide amenities to the thousands of workers and their families who sustain themselves through fishing.

The Aral Sea

Perhaps one of the biggest indicators of how important fishing can be is the curious case of the Aral Sea in the Middle East. Prior to 1960 the Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake in the world boasting an area of 26,000 square miles. Every year the fishing industry in the Aral Sea would pull out nearly 44,000 tons of fish. The fishing industry provided tens of thousands of jobs to workers in the area and food to millions of people.

Disaster

Sadly, various environmental and human actions led to the desiccation of the Aral Sea following the 1960’s. Today the Aral Sea has shrunk to just over 6,000 square miles making it a fraction of its former self. The shrinking of the Aral Sea led to numerous complication for the fish of the region. First, the fish lost thousands of miles of habitat including shallow breeding grounds that are essential to the reproductive process of the local fish. Next as the total volume of the Aral Sea began to decrease dramatically the salinity level of the water rose dramatically. The salinity level rose from 10 parts per million to nearly 100 parts per million. This ten times increase in salt levels cause many of the local fish species to die off. They simply were not built to handle their changing environment. In order to maintain the fishing industry the government introduced new species to the Aral Sea which began to outcompete local fish for resources.

Results

Prior to the shrinking there were 27 native fish species from seven different families leading to 44,000 tons of fish harvested in the Aral Sea each year. By the mid 1980’s 26 native fish species were absent in the Aral Sea. The fishing industry came to an abrupt halt producing 0 tons of fish each year. Having no fish to harvest led to tens of thousands of people losing their jobs and way of life. Even worse the poverty rate in some areas of the region rose up to 83% of the population. Truly staggering numbers that can help paint a picture of how important the sustainability and health of our aquatic ecosystems are. The Aral Sea should be a stern example of the care we humans need to have for other species that we share this world with.

Bio

Growing up spelunking, hiking and camping I developed a love for nature and science. Driving a hybrid car and conscientious resource management is how I make sure I am doing my part to help the environment.  I initially went to Ohio State to become either a chemical or environmental engineer. Through my classwork however I discovered a love for economics. I love getting the chance to combine two of my passions.

Citations

Ermakhanov, Z. K., et al. Mar. 2012 “Changes in the Aral Sea Ichthyofauna and Fishery during the Period of Ecological Crisis.” Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 3-9. EBSCOhost

Thompson. 2008.  “Impacts to Life in Region.” The Aral Sea Crisis. Web. 29 June 2017.

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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.