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Posts Tagged ‘fungus’

Animal diseases increasingly plague the oceans

February 21, 2012 Comments off

rawstory.com

whale.afp

VANCOUVER — When dead sea mammals started washing ashore on Canada’s west coast in greater numbers, marine biologist Andrew Trites was distressed to find that domestic animal diseases were killing them.

Around the world, seals, otters and other species are increasingly infected by parasites and other diseases long common in goats, cows, cats and dogs, marine mammal experts told a major science conference.

The diseases also increasingly threaten people who use the oceans for recreation, work or a source of seafood, scientists told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held this year in this western Canadian city.

The symposium “Swimming in Sick Seas” was one of many sessions at the meeting that drew a bleak picture of the state of

Read more…

Giant Fungus Discovered in China

August 1, 2011 Comments off
Prof Yu-Chen Dai holds two, relatively small, fragments of the single giant fungus Small fragments have broken off the single giant fungus

The most massive fruiting body of any fungus yet documented has been discovered growing on the underside of a tree in China.

The fruiting body, which is equivalent to the mushrooms produced by other fungi species, is up to 10m long, 80cm wide and weighs half a tonne.

That shatters the record held previously by a fungus growing in Kew Gardens in the UK.

The new giant fungus is thought to be at least 20 years old.

The first example of the new giant fungus was recorded by scientists in 2008 in Fujian Province, China, by Professor Yu-Cheng Dai of the Herbarium of biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shenyang and his assistant Dr Cui.

“But the type collection was not huge,” Prof Dai told BBC Nature.

However, “we found [the] giant one in Hainan Province in 2010.”

The researchers were in the field studying wood-decaying fungi when they happened upon the specimen, which they describe in the journal Fungal Biology.

“We were not specifically Read more…

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British government squanders millions conducting secret GM potato trials while non-GM variety already performs spectacularly

July 8, 2011 Comments off

naturalnews
For the past ten years, the British government has been quietly subsidizing research aimed at developing a genetically-modified (GM) potato resistant to blight, the fungal disease responsible for causing the infamous Irish potato famine.

According to Indymedia UK, Sainsbury Laboratory, the group tasked with development, has already spent roughly 1.7 million pounds ($2.7 million) worth of public funds to develop the GM potato, despite the fact that a natural blight-resistant variety has already been successfully bred and in use for the past three years.

Unlike in the US where GM crops are widely cultivated, GM crops have never been commercially grown in the UK. Widespread public opposition to their introduction back in 1997, as well as continued opposition, has kept them largely out of food and off the land. And yet reports explains that the GM potato research being conducted by Sainsbury — with public funding — is so secretive that Read more…

A Microscopic Chytrid Fungus Is Causing Massive Declines In Frog Populations Worldwide

June 20, 2011 1 comment

nanopatentsandinnovations

A microscopic chytrid fungus is causing massive declines in frog populations all over the world and even the extinction of certain species. Together with colleagues from Europe and the USA, researchers from the University of Zurich present methods as to how the chytrid fungus can be combated in the journal Frontiers in Zoology: namely with bacteria and fungicides. However, the possibility of vaccinating the frogs is also being considered.

The midwife toad: a species that is particularly sensitive to the chytrid fungus.

Photo: Benedikt Schmidt

New pathogens are not just a growing problem for humans and livestock, but also wild animals. Along with the destruction of their habitats and the overexploitation of their populations, a disease caused by a chytrid fungus called chytridiomycosis is one of the three Read more…

Disease hits wheat crops in Africa, Mideast

April 22, 2011 Comments off

AFP

PARIS — Aggressive new strains of wheat rust disease have decimated up to 40 percent of harvests in some regions of north Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus, researchers said Wednesday.

The countries most affected are Syria and Uzbekistan, with Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya also hit hard, they reported at a scientific conference in Aleppo, Syria.

“These epidemics increase the price of food and pose a real threat to rural livelihoods and regional food security,” Mahmoud Solh, director general of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), said in a statement.

In some nations hit by the blight, wheat accounts for 50 percent of calorie intake, and 20 percent of protein nutrition.

“Wheat is the cornerstone for food security in many of these countries,” said Hans Braun, director of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), near Mexico City, singling out Syria.

“Looking at the political and social situation, what they don’t need is a food crisis,” he told AFP by phone.

Wheat rust is a fungal disease that attacks the stems, grains and especially the Read more…

Tree-killing disease found in Florida

February 28, 2011 Comments off

The Associated Press

MIAMI — The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has positively identified the presence of a destructive disease that affects avocado trees and other trees in the laurel family.

State and federal agriculture experts say laurel wilt disease has been detected on three swamp bay trees in Miami Dade County.

The fungal disease is spread by the redbay ambrosia beetle.

If the disease spreads, it could potentially harm Florida’s avocado industry, which represents nearly $13 million to the local economy, with more than 6,773 production acres in Miami-Dade County, with some acreage in Collier County.

Red alert in Britain’s forests as Black death sweeps in

February 4, 2011 Comments off

Millions of larches have had to be felled to prevent the spread of a lethal virus from Asia. Christopher Middleton reports from the bleak and bare hillsides of South Wales.

Kill and cure: a disaeased larch forest being cleared at Crymant, near Neath. 

Kill and cure: a diseased larch forest being cleared at Crymant, near Neath. Photo: JAY WILLIAMS
By Christopher Middleton

Just before Christmas, you could stand at the top of Crynant Forest in South Wales and not have a clue that there was a village in the valley below. Today, the view down to the little white houses is uninterrupted. Where in mid-December there were thousands of larch trees, now there is a mass of stumps and branches.

It looks like a photograph from a First World War battlefield. A featureless no-man’s-land, interrupted by the occasional blasted tree trunk, pointing at an unnatural angle.

And that’s just the start of it. Turn your gaze in any direction, and there is a scene of devastation. Bare hillsides as far as the eye can see; slopes that look as if they’re covered in bracken are in fact coated with fallen trees.

Meanwhile, piles of logs as tall as barns are stacked up neatly by the roadside, like casualties awaiting collection from clearing stations.

The force that swept through here was not a hurricane, but an army of tree-felling engines sent in by the Forestry Commission. Already they’ve cleared 380 acres, but there’s more to be done. Much more.

And they’re in a race against time. Across the country, some 1.4 million larches have been cut down in the Read more…