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.
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.