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Symposium to address plant virus diseases in the developing world co-organized by Penn State

Posted: June 18, 2012

Plant diseases caused by insect-transmitted viruses are a threat to the food security of developing countries, causing serious crop and income losses for people whose livelihoods depend on farming. A symposium in India sponsored by an Indian university and the American government and co-organized by Penn State will bring together scientists to review the status of these diseases and discuss methods of combating them.
In Nepal, India, bacterial wilt and other diseases in eggplant is prevalent in the foothills and the valleys where the environment is warm and humid.

In Nepal, India, bacterial wilt and other diseases in eggplant is prevalent in the foothills and the valleys where the environment is warm and humid.

Research and Management of Insect-Transmitted Virus Diseases in the Tropics and Subtropics will be held July 10-13 in Coimbatore, India. The Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program (IPM CRSP), funded by USAID, and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University are sponsoring the four-day symposium. Ed Rajotte, professor of entomology at Penn State, and IPM CRSP principal investigator, is helping organize the conference.

“By bringing together scientists from around the world who deal with these diseases on a daily basis, we hope to construct a worldview of how viruses affect vegetables and how to work together to develop a coordinated, international research effort,” says Rajotte.

Also attending and presenting a lecture on plant virus disease vectors is Dr. Cristina Rosa, a member of Penn State’s Department of Entomology.

Participants and invited speakers will cover fundamental and applied aspects related to virus diseases. Discussions will focus on emerging and re-emerging virus diseases, especially those of vegetable crops, and on establishing a coordinated program to identify and manage virus diseases affecting cucurbits, eggplant, okra, pepper, and tomato.

Rajotte has worked for almost 20 years in South Asia, researching integrated pest management solutions for small-holder farmers.

Registration for the conference may be made by visiting: http://www.ow.ly/amTdH .