Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Emerging Plant Diseases: Tackling Global Challenges

Plant diseases are a major foe to global food security. Emerging bacterial, fungal, viral, and pest-based diseases have the potential to significantly decrease crop yields and increase postharvest losses, especially in the face of climate change. The series of events listed below, held in April 2013, addressed emerging plant pathology issues of relevance to the international development community. Click on each event title to view a recording.

Emerging Plant Diseases in the Context of Ecosystem Services
This seminar, part of the Jefferson Fellowship seminar series, was hosted by the U.S. Department of State on April 23, 2013. Dr. Jean Ristaino, Jefferson Science Fellow at USAID and Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology at NC State University, discussed the “armed and dangerous” plant diseases that threaten global food security and described how an ecosystem services concept can be useful for evaluating tradeoffs in deploying technologies to increase crop yields under changing climate.

The coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix): Some biological and epidemiological aspects
At this USAID seminar, held on April 11, 2013, Dr. Jacques Avelino, a coffee rust expert and plant pathologist, discussed the biology of the coffee rust pathogen and methods for disease management.

From rice pathology research to food security gains: An interview with Jan Leach
This interview is part of the Agrilinks Video Note series. Dr. Jan Leach, Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and Adjunct Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, discussed her research on broad-spectrum resistance mechanisms to combat rice diseases and the role of pathology research in climate change adaptation.

Tomorrow's rice
Dr. Jan Leach shares her thoughts on some of the traits that scientists and agricultural development workers must consider including in future crop improvement programs to keep up with the demands of the planet. She uses examples from her program's research to provide ideas of information that is needed to develop resilient rice plants and how some of these important traits might be approached. She posits that "tomorrow's rice" must be durably resistant to a broad spectrum of diseases and pests; promote human health; provide energy (a value-added trait); and of course, be delicious!