Study: Stem Rust Disease Could Threaten Global Food Supply

Stem Rust, Photo Credit: Wikimedia

A global team led by researchers from the University of Minnesota (U of M) warns in a new study that without increased financial support for disease resistance research, new strains of a devastating fungal disease could leave millions without affordable access to food.

The study, published in the current edition of the journal Science, examines how Ug99 – new virulent forms of stem rust first found in Uganda in 1999—could continue its movement across Africa, the Middle East and southwest Asia.  According to the team, the disease threatens food supplies for millions of people who depend on wheat and other small grains. Scientists have developed new wheat varieties with some resistance to the deadly disease, but the disease evolves and mutates into new forms, requiring new resistant varieties to be developed.

According to the U of M press release, several projects to develop resistance to Ug99 are under way, including an international consortium known as the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, a $26 million, five-year effort funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. U of M economists estimate, though, that as much as $51 million a year is needed. That number was reached by estimating the economic losses that would likely have occurred without the 20th century research that kept earlier variations of the disease at bay.

“Failing to increase and sustain investments in rust-resistance research is tantamount to accepting an increase in the risk of yield losses on one of the world’s food staples,” said Phil Pardey, leader of the research team and a professor of applied economics at U of M. “Spending on stem rust research has been inadequate for some time, and increased research investment must be sustained over the long haul if science is to keep on top of these ever-evolving crop diseases.”

Collaborators on the new study are from the University of Minnesota’s Stakman-Borlaug Cereal Rust Center; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia; the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico; and universities in South Africa and Australia.

For more information to the study, go to http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2013/UR_CONTENT_439411.html.

Africa/Middle East

Africa/Middle East

Arysta LifeScience’s Procurement Revolution

Stephen Pearce wants to change the way crop protection companies think about purchasing. When we talked in late June, Arysta

Africa/Middle East

Bayer and Monsanto CEOs Discuss the Merger

Africa/Middle East

Bayer-Monsanto Merger Creates New Global Ag Giant

During the whole of 2016, many of the companies that do business in the agricultural industry have concluded the best

Africa/Middle East

Bayer-Monsanto: What it Means So Far

More than five months in the making, the Monsanto board of directors accepted Bayer’s $66-billion bid to buy the company.

Africa/Middle East

ChemChina Secures Loans in Bid to Acquire Syngenta

ChinaChina (China National Chemical Corp.) “has secured commitments from lenders on a $12.7 billion loan for its purchase of Swiss

Africa/Middle East

Environmental Respect Awards Steps Up Efforts in Response to Increased Participation

The Environmental Respect Awards has launched its 27th year of honoring stewardship among agricultural retailers with an improved online entry

Africa/Middle East

Live From the Trade Summit: More Generics, More Mergers to Follow a Tough Year

The global crop protection market fell 9.8% to $55.6 billion in 2015, the first decline in the last five years,

Africa/Middle East

Humates Market Surging

“Humic substances are recognized by most soil scientists and agronomists as the most important components of a healthy, fertile soil,”

Africa/Middle East

Zambia Pegs Agricultural Growth on Farm Inputs

Landlocked Zambia is one of the few sub-Saharan African countries that has allocated at least 10% of the total national

Africa/Middle East

Hybrid Seeds Could Benefit African Farmers – DuPont Pioneer

In a paper recently published in Global Food Security, a consortium of DuPont Pioneer and Mukushi Seeds researchers make the

Africa/Middle East

State of the Industry 2016: The Mantra: Adapt and Innovate in Difficult Times

Crop protection companies are battling an epic combination of challenges, but find ways to keep growing.

Africa/Middle East

Stockton Signs Distribution Deal with Syngenta

Biologicals company the Stockton Group has signed an agreement with Syngenta as the exclusive global distributor of a new biofungicide

Africa/Middle East

Why the West Forgot the Farm, and How We’re Rediscovering Them

About 1% of the U.S. population are full-time farmers on 2.2 million farms. In the EU about 2.5% of the

Africa/Middle East

Stockton Israel Extends Research Agreement with Yeda

The agreement includes an option for an exclusive, royalty bearing license to develop a new bioinsecticide.

Africa/Middle East

Humans For Agriculture: A European View on Changing Attitudes Toward Biotech

James Gurney is a France-based microbiologist who comes from a farming family in the UK. Gurney, along with fellow long-time

Africa/Middle East

SLIDESHOW: Let’s Tell the Story of Agriculture

How personal stories, science, and outreach are advancing the public's acceptance of modern agriculture.

Africa/Middle East

Adama’s Earnings Grow on Higher-Value Products

Adama Agricultural Solutions Ltd. posted a higher first-quarter profit, as it grew sales in higher-value products, despite a dip in

Latest News

Agrichemicals

CropLife America Asks EPA to Publish for Public Comment Proposed Epidemiological Framework

CropLife America submitted a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Regina McCarthy on Sept. 22 requesting that the Agency

Industry News

HELM AG Transfers Sales of Plant Protection Products in Germany to Belchim Crop Protection

“The common goal of the cooperation is to offer our customers an interesting and powerful portfolio for cereals, oilseed rape,

Biopesticides

Global Distributors Seek More Biological Inputs

For the fifth year, AgriBusiness Global’s annual State of the Industry Survey and special report has explored the growth of

Agrichemicals

Indonesia Market Approaches $500 Million

Agriculture is an important aspect of Indonesian economy; it contributes 15% of the country’s GDP, and it provides employment to

Americas

DuPont Pioneer: New Way to Control Corn Rootworm Discovered

DuPont Pioneer researchers have discovered a protein from a non-Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium source that exhibits promise as an alternative