BSPP News Spring 2000 - Online Edition

The Newsletter of the British Society for Plant Pathology
Number 36, Spring 2000 

Conference and Travel Reports

XIVth International Plant Protection Congress
Plant Protection towards the Third Millennium - Where Chemistry meets Ecology
Jerusalem : 25 - 30 July, 1999

The First International Powdery Mildew Conference
Avignon, France : 29 August - 2 September 1999

20th Fungal Genetics Conference
Monterey, California : 23 - 28th March 1999

Applied biotechnologies to the conservation and improvement of genetic resources of marginal native crops of Latin America
Bogota, Colombia : September 20 - October 1 1999

American Phytopathological Society and Entomological Society of America Joint Annual Meeting
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA : November 8 - 12 1998

9th International Congress of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Amsterdam, The Netherlands : 25 -30 July 1999

Global Initiative on Late Blight
Quito, Ecuador, 16 - 19 March 1999

Fifth International Septoria Workshop
CIMMYT, Mexico: 20 - 24 September, 1999

The Thirteenth John Innes Symposium : Attack and Defence in Plant Disease
Norwich : 20-23 July 1999

Fifth International Conference on Plant Protection in the Tropics
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia : 15 -18 March 1999

International Symposium on Biological Control Agents in Crop and Animal Protection
Swansea, Wales : 24 - 28th August 1999

Fifth International Workshop on Septoria and Stagonospora Diseases of Cereals
CIMMYT, Mexico : 20 - 24 September 1999

Plant Health in the New Global Trading Environment
Canberra, Australia : 23 - 24 February 1999
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service & National Office for Animal and Plant Health and Food Safety
Canberra, Australia : 25 - 26 February 1999

Plant Health: Meeting the Challenges
Montreal, Canada : 7 - 11 August 1999

Seventh International Fungal Biology Conference
Groningen, The Netherlands : 22 - 25 July 1999

BSPP Presidential Meeting 'Biotic interactions in plant-pathogen associations'
Oxford : 19 - 22 December 1999

14th Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research
Sorrento, Italy : 2 - 7  May 1999

7th International Plant Virus Epidemiology Symposium
Almeria, Spain :  April 11 - 16, 1999

XIVth International Plant Protection Congress
Plant Protection towards the Third Millennium - Where Chemistry meets Ecology
Jerusalem : 25 - 30 July, 1999

This conference was held at the International Conference Centre, Jerusalem.  The programme, divided into 26 symposia, 13 poster sessions and 28 workshops covered all aspects of plant protection from new pesticides, biological control and natural products, cultural and physical control methods, plant breeding, diagnostics and monitoring, modelling and forecasting.
I arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport Tel Aviv on Friday night, the Shabbat, and was greeted with an empty airport and an equally empty road on my drive east to Jerusalem.  The next day, I made full use of the free day before the start of the conference to see the many sights of Jerusalem, the Western Wall, The Dome of the Rock and the Holy Sepulchre to name a few.  The city was still surprisingly quiet, especially compared to the bustle of any British city on a Saturday, that is, until 8 pm when Jerusalem came to life with the end of the Shabbat.

The conference officially started the following day with the opening ceremony and the David Rosen memorial lecture given by Majorie Hoy.  She gave a very touching and personal lecture on the life of David Rosen and his contribution to the biological control of arthropod pests in citrus, as well as an overview of the current status of biocontrol in citrus in Florida.  We then moved on to the reception which was held around the pool area of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a good time to catch up with old friends and meet a few new ones.

The next day the real conference started with Mike Jeger's plenary talk on bottlenecks in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) where he gave a stimulating lecture on the conditions preventing progress and freedom of development of IPM.  He pointed out that the recognition and solution of bottlenecks depends on opinion, whether of the politician, scientist, industrialist or farmer.  In some circumstances, especially when a particular pest is becoming an increasing problem, the different perceptions may come together to produce radical changes in control practices.  However, when there is no immediate pest crisis changes in pest control practises may be more difficult to develop and implement.

This general theme was carried on in the 'New development in biopesticides - from action to delivery' symposium, where we heard from E. Delfosse on some of the scientific, technological, economic and social reasons why the prediction of increased development and use of biopesticides has yet to be realised.  Three other lectures by Prakash Hebbar, Tariq Butt and Bryan Bailey addressed the lack of successful biofungicides, mycoinsecticides and bioherbicides respectively on the market.
It was interesting to see the same problems being identified in the three talks, with the lack of information on the ecology of the pest and biocontrol agent, fermentation, formulation and application being identified by all three speakers as areas which need addressing and where considerable improvement in the efficacy of biopesticides can be made.  It was also nice to hear from all three speakers the success stories and how these can give us information on how to improve our development of biopesticides.

After lunch we had time to view some of the posters in the first of four poster sessions.  As with the talks, a wide range of topics were covered in the 350 presentations.  Mary Ruth McDonald presented results on the control of white rot of onions and onion smut using synthetic garlic oil, diallyl disulfide (DADS).  A. J. Dix presented a poster on the integrated control of powdery mildew on roses using plant extracts, salts, or the biocontrol agent Sporothrix flocculosa applied alone or in alternation with a chemical fungicide.  The combined application of bacteria and yeast were shown to increase control of Botrytis cinerea on strawberry by Ruth Guetsky.

On Monday evening, we were taken on a visit to the Israel museum; this is one of Jerusalem's premier displays of archaeology including the distinctive pot shaped building, The Shrine of the Book, housing the 2000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls.  The visit was ended with a reception hosted by the European Crop Protection Association and the Global Crop Protection Federation and another chance to meet up with fellow workers in a congenial atmosphere.My contribution to the conference was the next day where I presented work on the use of genetic markers to study the ecology of Coniothyrium minitans, a parasite of the sclerotia of the vegetable pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.  Additional information on the ecology of C. minitans is required to improve the targeting and efficacy of the biocontrol agent.

The need for more information on the ecology of potential biocontrol agents to improve efficacy was also discussed by Brian Kerry.  Molecular markers as well as monoclonal antibodies and more traditional methods such as semi-selective media were used to detect the nematophagus fungus Verticillium chlamydosporium in soil, and to study its interaction with nematodes and host plants.

In the afternoon, after another chance to view the posters, was a choice of poster discussion groups.  I attended the 'management of soil pests' session where a number of representative posters were chosen and the authors asked to give a short oral presentation.  Y. Rekah showed the plant pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici has two mechanisms, of dissemination, through the soil and by air, which as was discussed have implication on the management of this disease.

In the 'IPM in protected agriculture' session, A. Dix presented a very stimulating talk on the cultural practises for control of disease in protected crops.  Using climate control, choice of cultivar, nutrition, sanitation, planting date and density, diseases such as powdery mildew and Botrytis could be reduced in glasshouse crops.  However, cultural or biological control as stand alone treatments were not as effective as fungicides, though integration of the two control methods could practically eliminate use of chemicals in protected crops.

In the next talk by M. Gullino, the prospect of using chemicals and compatable biocontrol agents to control disease was discussed.  This prompted a good discussion led by Yigel Elad with the conclusion that there was a need for co-operation among entomologists, plant pathologists and horticulturists to ensure chemicals or control strategies used for one pest are not detrimental to the control of another pest.

In the 'cultural and chemical alternatives to methyl bromide' session, organic amendments, soil solarisation, alternative fumigants were all discussed as possible replacements.  It was interesting to hear from Dan Chellemi that 48% of all the worlds use of methyl bromide is for four crops, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and cucurbits.  He also suggested that rather than using a single tactic approach for the management of soilborne pests, whereby a broad spectrum biocide such as methyl bromide is used to eliminate all potential plant pests from the soil, a more proactive approach is used to design a crop production system which avoids the build up and/or outbreak of soilborne pests.

The last day of the conference started with a plenary lecture given by Richard Peet, where he discussed whether there should be a broad patent infringement exemption for biotechnological research. As there is an increasing emphasis on producing a commercial product from the results of our research, the issue of patent infringement will need to increasingly be addressed.

In the next session Greg Johnson gave a thought-provoking seminar where he asked whether postharvest decay, which we as producers/consumers of fruit see as undesirable, provides some ecological advantage to the plant.  He discussed how understanding the process whereby the plant regulates disease development until the fruit and seeds have matured, could give us information to help control postharvest disease.

I attended this Congress with the combined support of the British Plant Pathology Society and the British Mycological Society. The conference provided me with an ideal opportunity to meet people working in similar areas of research and enabled me to make useful contacts with other research groups. I would like to thank the Society for their financial assistance.

Eirian Jones
Horticulture Research International, Wellesbourne


XIVth International Plant Protection Congress
Jerusalem : July 25 –30 1999

This Congress attracted 1016 registered delegates and was held in the Jerusalem International Convention Centre in the footsteps of the Eurovision Song Contest (fans may remember this wonderful event on May 29th 1999); any similarity between the two events was purely coincidental!

The Congress was well organised and was in the hands of an organizing committee (Chairperson J. Katan) and Kenes Congress Organisers; the Congress was dedicated to the memory of Professor David Rosen, researcher, educator and innovator in the field of biological control.

There were some outstanding sessions during the Congress. One of the most popular (the issues facing the regulatory community in regards to biotechnology, genetically modified organisms and transgenic crops) attracted one of the biggest audiences yet was held in one of the smallest lecture rooms; consequently it was not possible for many to attend. (Conversely one of the least popular sessions held concurrently with the above was housed in a very large empty lecture theatre).

For me, the workshop on induced resistance was outstanding. It was a joy to listen to Professor J. Kuc from the USA summarising our present knowledge on systemic induced resistance; he posed the fundamental question on why substances of widely different composition all bring about an induced resistance response in plants, and suggested that as yet no answers are in sight. He finished the packed out session with the comment that urination on plants probably brings about an induced resistance response and that workers in his laboratory had tried this, and it works!

Of significance was the establishment of the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) at the Congress. Further particulars for joining can be obtained from Dr J. Lawrence Apple, Secretary General of IAPPS, NC State University, Raleigh, USA.

The main Congress was accompanied by many "fringe" events. These included the inevitable pre- and post- congress tours, an accompanying persons programme, a get-together reception by the hotel swimming pool, a farewell banquet with folklore programme and, more interestingly, a full-day of professional field trips. I chose to go on the excursion dealing with nurseries and the production of pest-free propagation material. This involved visits to several flower farms, including the Benzur Nurseries where we were shown plant tissue culture and biotechnology "in action" by the general manager and owner.

Professional field trip to flower farm.

This was an expensive Congress but the host country provided a very rich cultural experience. It was good to see Israel at peace for once with its immediate neighbours. The excursion to Masada and the receding Dead Sea was fascinating and in stark contrast to the Sea of Galilee which supplies all of Israel's water. The next IPPC will be held in Beijing, China, 6th – 11th July 2003.

I would like to thank BSPP for a travel award towards the expenses incurred in attending the Congress.

Mike Cooke
University College Dublin