Chili Peppers Might Not Be So Hot in Australia

by Kourtney Sprague, Animal Science major

Four new pathogens have been discovered in Australia. This was a huge shock considering there were only thought to be two.

These pathogens cause a disease called anthracnose and influences many different types of plants we eat. The disease reduces production yield and creates black spots on the fruit or vegetables. This is an issue because many consumers will not buy produce with any type of flaw on it.

This problem isn’t just isolated to the chili peppers since pathogens can host on many plants. So, this poses a huge problem for Australia’s horticultural industry.

These pathogens can attach to any fruit or vegetable, but tropical fruits are more susceptible to them.

These pathogens might be new to the chilies, but a research team found that three of the pathogens have been present before in Australian avocados and papayas.

The never before identified species is C. cairnsense and the other three that have been identified before in other plants are: C. siamense, C. simmondsii and C. queenslandicum.

According to Professor Taylor “This disease is particularly hard to control because of the number of pathogens that make it up.”

Currently the problem is being managed with fungicides, but further work will be needed.

With that being said, scientists are trying to create disease resistance in chili plants so that production can increase.

C. scovillei, a pathogen that has spread in southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan, luckily hasn’t been detected in Australia’s chilies. Scientist are trying to prevent C. scovillei with further research.

Professor Taylor says “Identification and monitoring of pathogens is the only way to mitigate chilli disease in Australia. ”

Solving the problem is more difficult because of the lack of tools and personal in the industry.

Source

New Chili Pathogens Discovered in Australia ? EurekaAlert

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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.

Ear Rots in Corn

by Justin Haerr, Agricultural Systems Management major

Ear rots are fungal diseases that have stressed corn in every locality in which it is grown. Main diseases are Diplodia, Fusarium, Gibberella, and Aspergillus, with the later three producing mycotoxins that are toxic to both humans and livestock. Here in the Eastern Corn Belt, the symptoms of these fungal diseases show up in the ear around the milk stage of corn reproductive growth, or the R4 growth stage, sometime in Mid-August until the corn is harvested. In the cases of the Diplodia, Fusarium, and Gibberella pathogens, they are most viable in wet, humid conditions around the time of silking and around three weeks after silks have emerged as well. In the case of Aspergillus, the opposite holds true as the pathogen favors hot, dry weather at the time of silking up to three weeks after. In many cases, bird and insect damage open pathways for the pathogens to enter the ear and infect the host. These environmental factors play a role in how to plan on scouting for these diseases and also play a big role in how to manage potential fungicide applications, future hybrid selections, crop rotation, etc.

The financial impact is prevalent in yield loss and in some cases poor application of product, but the impact it could have on food security is a true issue. The end product cannot have a large amount of these mycotoxins in them, for they can have an impact on the health of livestock and of humans. Testing for the rots at elevator probes penalize the producers for the poor quality of that grain, and in certain situations, when need be, loads can be rejected from entry into the elevator to keep our food supply safe. In certain years, such as the 2016 crop year with high alfatoxin testing at elevators, the diseases are prevalent in every load. Environmental conditions for the area can impact the local market, and that can be seen in the price for corn at elevators.

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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.

Notes on Invasive Species and Classmate Presentations

by Kyle Scott, Agribusiness and Applied Economics major

Even though I have been doing a lot of writing and talking about invasive species, but I also wanted to take the opportunity to discuss how my classmate’s presentations also got me thinking. I wrote my paper on whether or not invasive species could potentially be good for certain environments. Obviously, only a few invasive species, if that, deliver benefits to species around them. I do not believe I have witnessed these relationships but while I am on the job outside I come across plenty of Reed Canary Grass and Phragmites and Japanese Knotwood.

Recently, I was walking along a bridge and THROUGH the pavement, reed canary grass was beginning to grow. Not just a small weed here or there, but literally stalks growing up to my knees. It was invading a bridge through pavement! I could not believe how many sprouts were able to grow through and I figure that if they are not disturbed they would continue to grow just like normal. Sometimes it almost feels like the plant knows it is invasive and wants to show off how much it can take over.

However, enough about invasive species I want to also discuss just a few thoughts I had while listening to and reading my classmate’s presentations. I was absolutely shocked to hear about a few facts Joey Conway was talking about in his Animal Agriculture presentation. For example, the fact that for one hamburger to be consumed, it requires 660 gallons of water before the hamburger reaches your plate. This is way too much water and this is a major problem we are dealing with. Humans use way too much water for many activities and it is showing. In Ethan Dolby’s presentation on the Aral Sea, we can specifically see, these pictures represent the rapid loss of water Earth is going through (below). The general public needs to be more efficient with our use of water before even more drastic events take place. I am very happy we got to share our presentations with each other. I learned a lot about things I never even knew about.

Aral Sea

 

Managing and Optimizing Organic Crop Yield

by Richard Vanderpuije, Economics major

For this blog post I chose to expand the discussion on my research paper. Feeding a growing globe with organic agriculture, bringing attention to organic farming and methods to sustainable mass yields. The underlying presumption when comparing both organic and conventional horticulture with respect to yield; generally organic yields range between 25-33% less than its counterparts harvest weight. It is worth mentioning that usually what is found in the aftermath of the study is that the soil contents in both farm systems have drastic differences in nutritional quality. According to research it seems that on average the acidic levels are not in optimal levels to promote vigorous growth in addition to nitrogen compound deficiencies, tillage, and plant cycling.

To say the least in essence we’ve learned that managing and optimizing organic crop yield requires more sophistication. Soil fertility is by far the most important element that dramatically brings closer the yields of the two systems. Systematic crop rotation of nutritional plants provides the soil with not only more nitrogen but aides in pathogen resistant properties. The usual slow releasing nitrogen fertilizers is not enough for organic farming, rather using nitrogen releasing crop rotation plants like legumes could supply roughly 25-75 pounds of nitrogen per acrr. It’s been found in studies that some 35% of nitrogen is supplied by way of cow manure in organic farming, which is far below the standards for what is required in the natural growth cycle of most crops.  Its natural alternative like this rather than conventional cow manure that changes the potential in yields of organic farming to close the gap in feeding a growing globe.

Source: Crop yields and supply of nitrogen compared in conventional and organic farming systems – AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SCIENCE BY: M. Alaru et al. (2014)

Bio

My name is Richard Wulff Vanderpuije. I am finishing up my undergraduates degree in economics; I should be graduating fairly soon, I am pushing to graduate in the spring semester of 2018. My hobbies include staying current with worldly trends, this includes but not limited to finance, medicine, government policies, business, and technology.

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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.

Organic Farming

by Jessica Skidmore, Sustainable Plant Systems – Agronomy major

Organic farming is one of the many ways farmers are trying to increase farm income these days. From higher feed or seed prices, to higher and dangerous fertilizers and chemicals, it is not always easy for farmers to stay ahead of things and have a self-sufficient farm.

One way I have seen this in my community is in our dairy industry. Local farms are going organic mainly because they are able to make a profit this way. With the rising demand for our society”s ‘health kicks’, organic milk is toward the top of that list. Not all farmers fully believe in organic or that it is better for the environment, but they do know it is better for their income and does not take too much extra work. It seems every few weeks when I drive down a different road in my county there is another farm that is trying to go organic. Milk production wise, things seem to be going well.

For crop producers it does not seem to be quiet that easy. The organic corn in this area is shorter than conventional corn and still has awhile before it will be tasseling.  Although I said that going organic is not that much more work, that can depend on the year and weather. There are some fields that are covered in weeds and will be hard to control since there are crops in the ground and they would need to till the ground in order to control the amount of weeds that are in the field. This may be one of the struggles that organic farmers have, but once they get past their bad years they could see as much as a five to seven percent increase in their income than from conventional farmers (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/03/organic-agriculture-more-profitable_n_7497018.html). Going organic just because that’s what the market wants may seem like it’s not a good reason, but sometimes we have to make a sacrifice just to continue that family farm.

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About the Author

Jessica is currently a senior at The Ohio State University studying Agronomy. She hopes to continue working as a crop consultant after graduation and to continue her family’s apiary.

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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.

GMO Labeling perspective

by Brenna Scheiderer, Sustainable Plant Systems – Horticulture major

I think a really popular topic in the in the public eye right now is the debate for genetically modified organisms vs. against genetically modified organisms. What I find personally interesting about this the argument is not whether they’re unsafe but rather should there be more labeling or label laws for this type of situation.

On both sides of the debate the members just want there to be a fair opinion about the product. The side supporting the labeling GMO’s they want to allow people to know what exactly they are consuming. If the product is labeled correctly in an unbiased fashion it should properly display what the product contains.

For the side against labeling there is a lot of different arguments but the big one is that labeling could cause false marketing and people may not want to buy that product any more. This is totally understandable we’ve all had a moment in the tore where a product is advertising how healthy, no GMO’s, organic, gluten free it is and for a second it looks better than its cheaper GMO competitor. I see why labeling could be seen as a bad thing do to it being advertised wrong.

In my opinion, I think that genetically modified organisms should be labeled, not because they are dangerous but because I believe people should know what they are eating. To make this fair there should be a law or something like a committee that has a set of rules and guidelines that labels food so they are not biases.

I grew up in a small rural town where everyone farms so GMO’s was something I learned about very young. It wasn’t until I started working in the greenhouse industry that I met people with different opinions about them than me. As I’ve continued my education in a plant based community I’ve learned more and more and have been able to develop my own opinion.

 

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.