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Nambour, Australia

Le D.P.,University of Queensland | Smith M.,Maroochy Research Station | Hudler G.W.,Cornell University | Aitken E.,University of Queensland
Crop Protection

Ginger is considered by many people to be the outstanding member among 1400 other species in the family Zingiberaceae. Not only it is a valuable spice used by cooks throughout the world to impart unique flavour to their dishes but it also has a long track record in some Chinese and Indian cultures for treating common human ailments such as colds and headaches. Ginger has recently attracted considerable attention for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. However, ginger as a crop is also susceptible to at least 24 different plant pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and nematodes. Of these, Pythium spp. (within the kingdom Stramenopila, phyllum Oomycota) are of most concern because various species can cause rotting and yield loss on ginger at any of the growth stages including during postharvest storage. Pythium gracile was the first species in the genus to be reported as a ginger pathogen, causing Pythium soft rot disease in India in 1907. Thereafter, numerous other Pythium spp. have been recorded from ginger growing regions throughout the world. Today, 15 Pythium species have been implicated as pathogens of the soft rot disease. Because accurate identification of a pathogen is the cornerstone of effective disease management programs, this review will focus on how to detect, identify and control Pythium spp. in general, with special emphasis on Pythium spp. associated with soft rot on ginger. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Akinsanmi O.A.,University of Queensland | Topp B.,Maroochy Research Station | Drenth A.,University of Queensland

Pseudocercospora macadamiae Beilharz, Mayers and Pascoe infects macadamia fruit via stomata causing husk spot disease. Information on the variability of fruit stomatal abundance, its association with diseased fruit pericarps (sticktights) that are retained in the tree canopy, and its influence on the husk spot intensity (incidence, severity and lesion number) among macadamia genotypes is lacking. We examined a total of 230 macadamia trees comprising 19 cultivars, 56 wild germplasm accessions and 40 breeding progeny, for the prevalence of sticktights and husk spot intensity over three production seasons. We observed a strong association between the prevalence of sticktights and disease intensity indicating its usefulness as a predictor of husk spot and as a useful phenotypic trait for husk spot resistance selection in breeding programmes. Similarly, stomatal abundance varied among macadamia genotypes, and a significant linear relationship (P < 0.001; 93%) was observed between fruit stomatal abundance and husk spot for all the macadamia genotypes analysed, confirming the utility of that trait for disease resistance screening. The genotypes were grouped into disease resistance groups. Correlations between fruit stomatal abundance, disease intensity and prevalence of sticktights revealed that the numbers of sticktights, and relative stomatal abundance were the main factors influencing the intensity of husk spot among macadamia genotypes. This is the first comprehensive study of natural variation of stomatal abundance in Macadamia species that reveals genetic variation, and provides relevant relationships with disease intensity and the prevalence of sticktights. The phenotypic plant traits indentified in this study may serve as selection tools for disease resistance screening in macadamia breeding programmes. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Lewis T.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Lewis T.,Griffith University | De Faveri J.,Maroochy Research Station
International Journal of Wildland Fire

Wildfire represents a major risk to pine plantations. This risk is particularly great for young plantations (generally less than 10m in height) where prescribed fire cannot be used to manipulate fuel biomass, and where flammable grasses are abundant in the understorey. We report results from a replicated field experiment designed to determine the effects of two rates of glyphosate (450gL-1) application, two extents of application (inter-row only and inter-row and row) with applications being applied once or twice, on understorey fine fuel biomass, fuel structure and composition in south-east Queensland, Australia. Two herbicide applications (∼9 months apart) were more effective than a once-off treatment for reducing standing biomass, grass continuity, grass height, percentage grass dry weight and the density of shrubs. In addition, the 6-Lha-1 rate of application was more effective than the 3-Lha-1 rate of application in periodically reducing grass continuity and shrub density in the inter-rows and in reducing standing biomass in the tree rows, and application in the inter-rows and rows significantly reduced shrub density relative to the inter-row-only application. Herbicide treatment in the inter-rows and rows is likely to be useful for managing fuels before prescribed fire in young pine plantations because such treatment minimised tree scorch height during prescribed burns. Further, herbicide treatments had no adverse effects on plantation trees, and in some cases tree growth was enhanced by treatments. However, the effectiveness of herbicide treatments in reducing the risk of tree damage or mortality under wildfire conditions remains untested. Journal compilation © IAWF 2012. Source

Le D.P.,University of Queensland | Smith M.K.,Maroochy Research Station | Aitken E.A.B.,University of Queensland
Crop Protection

Pythium soft rot (PSR) of ginger caused by a number of Pythium species is of the most concern worldwide. In Australia, PSR outbreaks associated with Pythium myriotylum was recorded in 2007. Our recent pathogenicity tests in Petri dishes conducted on ginger rhizomes and pot trials on ginger plants showed that Pythiogeton (Py.) ramosum, an uncommon studied oomycete in Pythiaceae, was also pathogenic to ginger at high temperature (30-35°C). Ginger sticks excised from the rhizomes were colonised by Py. ramosum which caused soft rot and browning lesions. Ginger plants inoculated with Py. ramosum showed initial symptoms of wilting and leave yellowing, which were indistinguishable from those of Pythium soft rot of ginger, at 10 days after inoculation. In addition, morphological and phylogenetic studies indicated that isolates of Py. ramosum were quite variable and our isolates obtained from soft rot ginger were divided into two groups based on these variations. This is also for the first time Py. ramosum is reported as a pathogen on ginger at high temperatures. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Bebawi F.F.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Campbell S.D.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Mayer R.J.,Maroochy Research Station
Rangeland Journal

Understanding the reproductive biology of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton, an invasive weed of northern Australia, is critical for development of effective management strategies. Two experiments are reported on. In Experiment 1 seed longevity of C. procera seeds, exposed to different soil type (clay and river loam), pasture cover (present and absent) and burial depth (0, 2.5, 10 and 20cm) treatments were examined. In Experiment 2 time to reach reproductive maturity was studied. The latter experiment included its sister species, C. gigantea (L.) W.T. Aiton, for comparison and two separate seed lots were tested in 2009 and 2012 to determine if exposure to different environmental conditions would influence persistence. Both seed lots demonstrated a rapid decline in viability over the first 3 months and declined to zero between 15 and 24 months after burial. In Experiment 1, longevity appeared to be most influenced by rainfall patterns and associated soil moisture, burial depth and soil type, but not the level of pasture cover. Experiment 2 showed that both C. procera and C. gigantea plants could flower once they had reached an average height of 85cm. However, they differed significantly in terms of basal diameter at first flowering with C. gigantea significantly smaller (31mm) than C. procera (45mm). On average, C. gigantea flowered earlier (125 days vs 190 days) and set seed earlier (359 days vs 412 days) than C. procera. These results suggest that, under similar conditions to those that prevailed in the present studies, land managers could potentially achieve effective control of patches of C. procera in 2 years if they are able to kill all original plants and treat seedling regrowth frequently enough to prevent it reaching reproductive maturity. This suggested control strategy is based on the proviso that replenishment of the seed bank is not occurring from external sources (e.g. wind and water dispersal). © Australian Rangeland Society 2015. Source

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