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McQuaid C.F.,Rothamsted Research | Sseruwagi P.,Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute | Pariyo A.,National Crops Resources Research Institute | van den Bosch F.,Rothamsted Research
Plant Pathology

One method of reducing disease in crops is the dissemination of disease-free planting material from a multiplication site to growers. This study assesses the validity and sustainability of this method for cassava brown streak disease, a threat to cassava crops across East Africa. Using mathematical modelling, the effects of different environmental and control conditions on pathogen spread were determined in a single-field multiplication site. High disease pressure, through large vector populations and disease in the surrounding area, combined with poor roguing practice, resulted in unsuccessful disease suppression. However, fields may produce sufficiently clean material for replanting if these factors can be overcome. Assessing the sustainability of a low-pressure system over multiple harvests, well-managed fields were found to maintain low disease levels, although producing sufficient cuttings may prove challenging. Replanting fields from the previous harvest does not lead to degeneration of planting material, only cutting numbers, and the importation of new clean material is not necessarily required. It is recommended that multiplication sites are only established in areas of low disease pressure and vector population density, and the importance of training in field management is emphasized. Cultivars displaying strong foliar symptoms are to be encouraged, as these allow for effective roguing, resulting in negative selection against the disease and reducing its spread. Finally, efforts to increase plant multiplication rates, the number of cuttings that can be obtained from each plant, have a significant impact on the sustainability of sites, as this represents the primary limiting factor to success. © 2016 British Society for Plant Pathology. Source

Legg J.P.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Sseruwagi P.,Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute | Boniface S.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Okao-Okuja G.,National Agricultural Crops Resources Research Institute | And 10 more authors.
Virus Research

The greatest current threat to cassava in sub-Saharan Africa, is the continued expansion of plant virus pandemics being driven by super-abundant populations of the whitefly vector, Bemisia tabaci. To track the association of putatively genetically distinct populations of B. tabaci with pandemics of cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), a comprehensive region-wide analysis examined the phylogenetic relationships and population genetics of 642 B. tabaci adults sampled from cassava in six countries of East and Central Africa, between 1997 and 2010, using a mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase I marker (780 bases). Eight phylogenetically distinct groups were identified, including one, designated herein as 'East Africa 1' (EA1), not previously described. The three most frequently occurring groups comprised >95% of all samples. Among these, the Sub-Saharan Africa 2 (SSA2) group diverged by c. 8% from two SSA1 sub-groups (SSA1-SG1 and SSA1-SG2), which themselves were 1.9% divergent. During the 14-year study period, the group associated with the CMD pandemic expansion shifted from SSA2 to SSA1-SG1. Population genetics analyses of SSA1, using Tajima's D, Fu's Fs and Rojas' R2 statistics confirmed a temporal transition in SSA1 populations from neutrally evolving at the outset, to rapidly expanding from 2000 to 2003, then back to populations more at equilibrium after 2004. Based on available evidence, hybrid introgression appears to be the most parsimonious explanation for the switch from SSA2 to SSA1-SG1 in whitefly populations driving cassava virus pandemics in East and Central Africa. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Rodenburg J.,Africa Rice Center | Riches C.R.,University of Greenwich | Kayeke J.M.,Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute
Crop Protection

Significant areas of rain-fed rice in the Sahel, savannah and derived savannah zones of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Madagascar and other Indian Ocean Islands are infested by parasitic weeds. The affected area accommodates some of the poorest farmers of the world. Without appropriate management parasitic weeds in rice are expected to increase in importance in SSA due to their general invasive nature and their abilities to adapt to changing conditions such as imposed by predicted climate changes. The most important parasitic weeds in rice are: Striga hermonthica, Striga asiatica, Striga aspera and Rhamphicarpa fistulosa. The first two are primarily found in free-draining uplands while S. aspera is also found on hydromorphic soils and R. fistulosa is restricted to unimproved lowlands including inland valleys. As parasitic weeds are typical production constraints in subsistence rice production, targeting them would directly contribute to poverty alleviation and food security. This paper provides an overview of the problems caused by parasitic weeds in rice and discusses management options and opportunities for research for development. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Mugerwa H.,National Crops Resources Research Institute | Mugerwa H.,University of Witwatersrand | Rey M.E.C.,University of Witwatersrand | Alicai T.,National Crops Resources Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution

The genetic variability of whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) species, the vectors of cassava mosaic begomoviruses (CMBs) in cassava growing areas of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, was investigated through comparison of partial sequences of the mitochondria cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) DNA in 2010/11. Two distinct species were obtained including sub-Saharan Africa 1 (SSA1), comprising of two sub-clades (I and II), and a South West Indian Ocean Islands (SWIO) species. Among the SSA1, sub-clade I sequences shared a similarity of 97.8-99.7% with the published Uganda 1 genotypes, and diverged by 0.3-2.2%. A pairwise comparison of SSA1 sub-clade II sequences revealed a similarity of 97.2-99.5% with reference southern Africa genotypes, and diverged by 0.5-2.8%. The SSA1 sub-clade I whiteflies were widely distributed in East Africa (EA). In comparison, the SSA1 sub-clade II whiteflies were detected for the first time in the EA region, and occurred predominantly in the coast regions of Kenya, southern and coast Tanzania. They occurred in low abundance in the Lake Victoria Basin of Tanzania and were widespread in all four regions in Uganda. The SWIO species had a sequence similarity of 97.2-97.7% with the published Reunion sequence and diverged by 2.3-2.8%. The SWIO whiteflies occurred in coast Kenya only. The sub-Saharan Africa 2 whitefly species (Ug2) that was associated with the severe CMD pandemic in Uganda was not detected in our study. © 2012 The Authors. Source

Seguni Z.S.K.,Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute | Way M.J.,Imperial College London | Van Mele P.,AfricaRice
Crop Protection

In tropical Africa and Asia, two species of the predatory ant genus, Oecophylla, play a crucial role in protecting tree crops against pests and enhancing the quality of fruits and nuts. As predatory effectiveness is influenced by the presence of other dominant ant species, understanding the ecological factors at work in agroecosystems lies at the basis of conservation biological control. Over three and a half years, the effect of ground vegetation management on the beneficial tree-nesting ant Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) and its competitor, the ground-nesting ant, Pheidole megacephala (Fabricius), was studied in a citrus orchard in Tanzania. When ground vegetation was present, P. megacephala tolerated O. longinoda and to some extent cohabited with this ant in citrus trees. However, after clean cultivation, P. megacephala displaced O. longinoda from tree crowns and became the sole occupant of the majority of trees. Displacement could be reversed by reversing the weed management regime, but this took time. Two years after the establishment of ground vegetation about half of the trees were colonized by Oecophylla only. Maintaining ground vegetation in tree crop plantations benefits the establishment and abundance of Oecophylla over Pheidole and is recommended in order to improve the efficiency of biological control of tree pests. The use of Amdro ant bait (hydramethylnon) to control P. megacephala is discussed. Boosting agroecological innovations, such as the one described in this paper, could benefit smallholder producers. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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