National Agricultural Research Organization

Mbarara, Uganda

National Agricultural Research Organization

Mbarara, Uganda

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Namukwaya B.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Namukwaya B.,National Agricultural Research Organization | Namukwaya B.,Makerere University | Tripathi L.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | And 4 more authors.
Transgenic Research | Year: 2012

Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW), caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum, is one of the most important diseases of banana (Musa sp.) and currently considered as the biggest threat to banana production in Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa. The pathogen is highly contagious and its spread has endangered the livelihood of millions of farmers who rely on banana for food and income. The development of disease resistant banana cultivars remains a high priority since farmers are reluctant to employ labor-intensive disease control measures and there is no host plant resistance among banana cultivars. In this study, we demonstrate that BXW can be efficiently controlled using transgenic technology. Transgenic bananas expressing the plant ferredoxin-like protein (Pflp) gene under the regulation of the constitutive CaMV35S promoter were generated using embryogenic cell suspensions of banana. These transgenic lines were characterized by molecular analysis. After challenge with X. campestris pv. musacearum transgenic lines showed high resistance. About 67% of transgenic lines evaluated were completely resistant to BXW. These transgenic lines did not show any disease symptoms after artificial inoculation of in vitro plants under laboratory conditions as well as potted plants in the screen-house, whereas non-transgenic control plants showed severe symptoms resulting in complete wilting. This study confirms that expression of the Pflp gene in banana results in enhanced resistance to BXW. This transgenic technology can provide a timely solution to the BXW pandemic. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Kagoda F.,National Agricultural Research Organization | Hearne S.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Adewuyi O.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Coyne D.L.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture
Euphytica | Year: 2015

Maize is the most important cereal food crop is sub-Saharan Africa though yields are below their potential. Among the factors which limit yield, drought stress is one of the most pervasive. The ability of a crop to produce grain under drought (water) stress is governed by many factors including nematodes. The aim of the current study was to determine the response of drought tolerant maize inbreds to nematode attack, understand the interaction between nematode infestation and water stress on maize growth and yield. The study comprised three factors: optimal irrigation against water stress, five nematode treatment conditions and ten maize inbreds. Results showed irrigation option × genotype interaction to significantly affect growth of the maize crop from 6 weeks after planting. Water stress favoured the reproduction of lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus zeae), 50 times more than root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita), which showed an increase in most inbreds only under optimal irrigation. Inbreds ACR.SYN-W, La Posta Seq. C7, TZL Comp1C4 and 5057 displayed resistance to P. zeae and M. incognita under water stress, although cob dry weights were low for TZL Comp1C4 and 5057. Inbreds BMB23, DTPL-W-C7 and TZEI1 displayed tolerance to P. zeae and M. incognita under water stress. Overall, there is a high possibility of extracting desired genetic combination for P. zeae/M. incognita resistant and drought tolerant genes from inbreds ACR.SYN-W and La Posta Seq. C7. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


ST. LOUIS, MO, December 14, 2016-The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announces that the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) consortium of American, Nigerian, Ugandan, and Kenyan institutions recently received a five-year, $10.46 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop disease-resistant and nutritionally-enhanced cassava varieties to improve the livelihoods and health status of African farm families. Cassava is an important food and cash crop for small-holder farmers in Africa. It is the second most important staple food crop after maize in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately one-third of the population relies on its starchy tuberous roots for over 50 percent of their daily caloric intake. It grows well in conditions of drought and low soil fertility prevalent in many African countries. However, plant viral diseases can destroy up to 100 percent of a cassava crop yield, threatening livelihoods and leading to hunger. Although it is an excellent source of calories, cassava does not contain significant levels of key nutrients to meet minimum daily requirements, especially for women and children. The VIRCA Plus collaboration will address these challenges by developing and delivering two products. The first will be East African cassava varieties with resistance to both Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD). The second will be a Nigerian cassava variety with elevated levels of iron and zinc for improved nutrition, as well as disease resistance. VIRCA Plus builds on the success of two predecessor projects. The VIRCA project successfully developed strong and stable resistance to CBSD in cassava, validated over four field trials and multiple cropping cycles in Kenya and Uganda. The BioCassava Plus project succeeded in developing and testing cassava plants that accumulated greater than 10 times more iron and zinc than comparable varieties. Both minerals are retained after processing into common foodstuffs at levels that could provide 40-70 percent of the Estimated Average Requirement for vulnerable women and children. "By combining capacities and successes of the two predecessor projects, VIRCA Plus is poised to make important strides in improving agricultural productivity for farmers and enhancing nutrition for smallholder households in East and West Africa," said Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator and Senior Research Scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and the principal investigator for VIRCA Plus. Partner institutes: The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO, USA; the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) in Nigeria; the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI)/ National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) in Uganda; the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the ISAAA AfriCenter in Kenya; and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)in Nigeria. Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research aims to feed the hungry and improve human health, preserve and renew the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center's work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.


ST. LOUIS, MO, December 16, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announces that the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) consortium of American, Nigerian, Ugandan, and Kenyan institutions recently received a five-year, $10.46 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop disease-resistant and nutritionally-enhanced cassava varieties to improve the livelihoods and health status of African farm families. Cassava is an important food and cash crop for small-holder farmers in Africa. It is the second most important staple food crop after maize in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately one-third of the population relies on its starchy tuberous roots for over 50 percent of their daily caloric intake. It grows well in conditions of drought and low soil fertility prevalent in many African countries. However, plant viral diseases can destroy up to 100 percent of a cassava crop yield, threatening livelihoods and leading to hunger. Although it is an excellent source of calories, cassava does not contain significant levels of key nutrients to meet minimum daily requirements, especially for women and children. The VIRCA Plus collaboration will address these challenges by developing and delivering two products. The first will be East African cassava varieties with resistance to both Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD). The second will be a Nigerian cassava variety with elevated levels of iron and zinc for improved nutrition, as well as disease resistance. VIRCA Plus builds on the success of two predecessor projects. The VIRCA project successfully developed strong and stable resistance to CBSD in cassava, validated over four field trials and multiple cropping cycles in Kenya and Uganda. The BioCassava Plus project succeeded in developing and testing cassava plants that accumulated greater than 10 times more iron and zinc than comparable varieties. Both minerals are retained after processing into common foodstuffs at levels that could provide 40-70 percent of the Estimated Average Requirement for vulnerable women and children. "By combining capacities and successes of the two predecessor projects, VIRCA Plus is poised to make important strides in improving agricultural productivity for farmers and enhancing nutrition for smallholder households in East and West Africa," said Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator and Senior Research Scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and the principal investigator for VIRCA Plus. Partner institutes: The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO, USA; the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) in Nigeria; the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI)/ National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) in Uganda; the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the ISAAA AfriCenter in Kenya; and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)in Nigeria. About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research aims to feed the hungry and improve human health, preserve and renew the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center's work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.


International Collaboration Receives Grant to Advance Improvements in Cassava Harvests and Nutrition for Smallholder Families in Sub-Saharan Africa Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) consortium received a five-year, $10.46 million grant to develop disease-resistant and nutritionally-enhanced cassava varieties to improve the status of African farm families. St. Louis, MO, December 16, 2016 --( Cassava is an important food and cash crop for small-holder farmers in Africa. It is the second most important staple food crop after maize in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately one-third of the population relies on its starchy tuberous roots for over 50 percent of their daily caloric intake. It grows well in conditions of drought and low soil fertility prevalent in many African countries. However, plant viral diseases can destroy up to 100 percent of a cassava crop yield, threatening livelihoods and leading to hunger. Although it is an excellent source of calories, cassava does not contain significant levels of key nutrients to meet minimum daily requirements, especially for women and children. The VIRCA Plus collaboration will address these challenges by developing and delivering two products. The first will be East African cassava varieties with resistance to both Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD). The second will be a Nigerian cassava variety with elevated levels of iron and zinc for improved nutrition, as well as disease resistance. VIRCA Plus builds on the success of two predecessor projects. The VIRCA project successfully developed strong and stable resistance to CBSD in cassava, validated over four field trials and multiple cropping cycles in Kenya and Uganda. The BioCassava Plus project succeeded in developing and testing cassava plants that accumulated greater than 10 times more iron and zinc than comparable varieties. Both minerals are retained after processing into common foodstuffs at levels that could provide 40-70 percent of the Estimated Average Requirement for vulnerable women and children. “By combining capacities and successes of the two predecessor projects, VIRCA Plus is poised to make important strides in improving agricultural productivity for farmers and enhancing nutrition for smallholder households in East and West Africa,” said Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator and Senior Research Scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and the principal investigator for VIRCA Plus. Partner institutes: The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO, USA; the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) in Nigeria; the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI)/ National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) in Uganda; the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the ISAAA AfriCenter in Kenya; and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)in Nigeria. About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research aims to feed the hungry and improve human health, preserve and renew the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter. St. Louis, MO, December 16, 2016 --( PR.com )-- The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announces that the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) consortium of American, Nigerian, Ugandan, and Kenyan institutions recently received a five-year, $10.46 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop disease-resistant and nutritionally-enhanced cassava varieties to improve the livelihoods and health status of African farm families.Cassava is an important food and cash crop for small-holder farmers in Africa. It is the second most important staple food crop after maize in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately one-third of the population relies on its starchy tuberous roots for over 50 percent of their daily caloric intake. It grows well in conditions of drought and low soil fertility prevalent in many African countries. However, plant viral diseases can destroy up to 100 percent of a cassava crop yield, threatening livelihoods and leading to hunger. Although it is an excellent source of calories, cassava does not contain significant levels of key nutrients to meet minimum daily requirements, especially for women and children.The VIRCA Plus collaboration will address these challenges by developing and delivering two products. The first will be East African cassava varieties with resistance to both Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD). The second will be a Nigerian cassava variety with elevated levels of iron and zinc for improved nutrition, as well as disease resistance.VIRCA Plus builds on the success of two predecessor projects. The VIRCA project successfully developed strong and stable resistance to CBSD in cassava, validated over four field trials and multiple cropping cycles in Kenya and Uganda. The BioCassava Plus project succeeded in developing and testing cassava plants that accumulated greater than 10 times more iron and zinc than comparable varieties. Both minerals are retained after processing into common foodstuffs at levels that could provide 40-70 percent of the Estimated Average Requirement for vulnerable women and children.“By combining capacities and successes of the two predecessor projects, VIRCA Plus is poised to make important strides in improving agricultural productivity for farmers and enhancing nutrition for smallholder households in East and West Africa,” said Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator and Senior Research Scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and the principal investigator for VIRCA Plus.Partner institutes: The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO, USA; the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) in Nigeria; the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI)/ National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) in Uganda; the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the ISAAA AfriCenter in Kenya; and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)in Nigeria.About The Donald Danforth Plant Science CenterFounded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research aims to feed the hungry and improve human health, preserve and renew the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from Donald Danforth Plant Science Center


Mulumba J.W.,National Agricultural Research Organization | Nankya R.,Bioversity International | Adokorach J.,National Agricultural Research Organization | Kiwuka C.,National Agricultural Research Organization | And 3 more authors.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2012

Much of the worlds' annual harvest loss to pests and diseases occurs as a consequence of crops grown in monocultures, or cultivated varieties with uniform resistance. This uniform resistance is met by the continuing evolution of new races of pests and pathogens that are able to overcome resistance genes introduced by modern breeding, creating the phenomenon of boom and bust cycles. One of the few assets available to small-scale farmers in developing countries to reduce pests and diseases damage is their local crop varietal diversity, together with the knowledge to manage and deploy this diversity appropriately. Local crop varietal diversity of banana and plantain (Musa spp.) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) was measured at the community and household levels within farmers' fields in four agro-ecological areas of Uganda. Resistance of traditional and modern varieties of P. vulgaris to anthracnose, angular leaf spot, and bean fly and of traditional and modern varieties of Musa spp. to black sigatoka, banana weevils and nematodes was assessed from participatory diagnostics of farmer knowledge and cross-site on-farm and on-station trials. By performing cross-site on-farm experiments, it was possible to identify traditional varieties with higher resistance to pest and diseases when grown outside their home sites. Increased diversity of crop varieties, measured by number of varieties (richness) and their evenness of distribution, corresponded to a decrease in the average damage levels across sites and to a reduction of variance of disease damage. In sites with higher disease incidence, households with higher levels of diversity in their production systems had less damage to their standing crop in the field compared to sites with lower disease incidence. The results support what might be expected of a risk-minimizing strategy for use of diversity to reduce pest and disease damage. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Ramathani I.,Makerere University | Biruma M.,Makerere University | Biruma M.,National Agricultural Research Organization | Martin T.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Plant Pathology | Year: 2011

In order to understand the underlaying causes of new severe turcicum leaf blight outbreaks in East Africa, a survey was undertaken in Uganda to examine the sorghum-Setosphaeria turcica interaction in terms of disease severity and incidence, the overall fungal population structure, and new resistant resources. Highest disease severities were recorded on caudatum accessions, whereas kafir genotypes were most resistant. The disease was more severe in the most humid farmlands compared to moderately dry agro-ecologies. In districts with wide adoption of the Epuripur variety a very high incidence (100%) of turcicum leaf blight was found. The two S. turcica mating type genes MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 assessed on fungal isolates deriving from both sorghum and maize diseased leaves were found in 20 of 23 districts sampled and in equal proportions. Upon cross inoculation on maize differential lines, four S. turcica isolates were identified as race 1, two as race 2, and one isolate corresponded to race 0 and race 3, respectively. The remaining 10 S. turcica isolates did not cause any disease symptoms on the maize lines assessed. Highly resistant accessions originating from a regional collection were found among the five sorghum races (kafir, guinea, caudatum, bicolor and durra), and are now implemented in new sorghum disease resistance programs. © 2011 KNPV.


Ocimati W.,Bioversity International | Ssekiwoko F.,National Agricultural Research Organization | Karamura E.,Bioversity International | Tinzaara W.,Bioversity International | And 2 more authors.
Plant Pathology | Year: 2013

Banana xanthomonas wilt (XW) caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm) attacks all banana cultivars. Xcm in inflorescence-infected Pisang Awak plants with wilting male bud bracts is restricted to the upper parts of the true stem; therefore, cutting these plants at the pseudostem base has been recommended to prevent further Xcm spread. In order to fine-tune existing control strategies, this study examined the movement of Xcm into plants and mats, in relation to disease incubation period. Mature Pisang Awak and East African highland (AAA-EA) plants were inoculated with Xcm through abscission wounds of female bracts, male bud bracts, male flowers, a combination of male bud bracts and flowers, and by cutting male buds with a contaminated machete. Thirty plants per genotype and treatment were monitored for 24 months for disease symptoms. An additional 68 AAA-EA and 33 Pisang Awak plants were sampled weekly to assess the rate of Xcm spread within the plants. All floral entry points resulted in disease, with the highest incidence in combined male bract and male flower abscission wound inoculations. The study confirmed the systemicity of Xcm, with the pathogen able to live within the mat for long periods (5-16 months) without causing disease. Reliance on disease symptom expression to manage XW is therefore not sufficient. The long incubation period in lateral shoots may explain the current resurgence of the disease in locations where the disease was thought to have been successfully eradicated. © 2012 The Authors Plant Pathology © 2012 BSPP.


Horita M.,Japan National Institute for Agro - Environmental Sciences | Kitamoto H.,Japan National Institute for Agro - Environmental Sciences | Kawaide T.,National Agricultural Research Organization | Kawaide T.,Institute of Livestock and Grassland science | And 2 more authors.
Biotechnology for Biofuels | Year: 2015

Background: In an attempt to reduce environmental loading during ethanol production from cellulosic plant biomass, we have previously proposed an on-site solid state fermentation (SSF) method for producing ethanol from whole crops, which at the same time provides cattle feed without producing wastes. During the ensiling of freshly harvested plant biomass with cellulase and glucoamylase, the added yeast and lactic acid bacteria induced simultaneous saccharification and production of ethanol and lactic acid in hermetically sealed containers on-farm. In a previous study, laboratory-scale SSF (using 250 g of fresh rice crop biomass) yielded 16.9 weight % ethanol in dry matter (DM) after 20 days of incubation. In this study, the fermentation volume was scaled up to a normal-sized round bale and the fermentation process (ethanol concentrations of the products) was monitored. The ethanol produced was recovered and the recovery efficiency was evaluated. Results: SSF tests with forage rice round bales using polyethylene-wrapped whole plant materials (cultivar Leaf Star, average of 125.2 kg dry weight) were monitored in the field without temperature control. They yielded 14.0 weight % ethanol and 2.9 weight % lactic acid in DM after six months of incubation, and the ethanol ratio in the bale remained stable for 14 months after processing. SSF tests with three different rice cultivars were conducted for three years. Ethanol recovery from a fermented whole bale (244 kg fresh matter (FM) containing about 12.4 kg ethanol) by one-step distillation using vacuum distillation equipment yielded 86.3% ethanol collected from distilled solution (107 kg of 10.0 weight % ethanol). In addition, an average of 1.65 kg ethanol in 40.8 kg effluent per bale was recovered. Relative nitrogen content was higher in SSF products than in silage made from the same plant material, indicating that fermentation residue, whose quality is stabilized by the lactic acid produced, can be used as cattle feed. Conclusions: We have successfully demonstrated an efficient on-site ethanol production system with non-sterilized whole rice crop round bale. However, issues concerning the establishment of the ethanol recovery procedure on-site and evaluation of the fermentation residue as cattle feed have to be addressed. © 2015 Horita et al.


Benin S.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Nkonya E.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Okecho G.,National Agricultural Advisory Services Secretariat | Randriamamonjy J.,International Food Policy Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Agricultural Economics | Year: 2011

The aim of this paper is to assess the direct and indirect impacts of the agricultural extension system of Uganda, the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program, on household agricultural income. Data from two rounds of surveys of Ugandan rural farm-households conducted in 2004 and 2007, as well as different program evaluation methods and model specifications, are used to estimate impacts and compute a rate of return. The direct and indirect impact of the program is estimated at 37-95% and 27-55% increase in per capita agricultural gross revenue between 2004 and 2007 for households participating directly and indirectly in the program, respectively, compared to nonparticipants. The rate of return on the program's expenditures is estimated at 8-49%. The program has been relatively more effective among male-headed, larger, and asset-poor households, as well as those taking up noncrop high-value enterprises and living further away from financial services, all-weather roads, and markets or located in the Eastern and Northern Regions. Policy implications of the results are drawn. © 2010 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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