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- Scientists have warned that the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, which is destroying South American wheat crops, could spread worldwide.
- Researchers first detected the pathogen in Brazilian wheat crops in the 1980s.
- The fungus has since spread throughout South America.
- Cases of infection have also been reported in Asia in 2016 and Africa in 2018.
- Magnaporthe oryzae infects wild and cultivated grasses, most notably rice and wheat.
- The pathogen affects the crop in a disease known as ‘wheat blast’.
- The seriousness of the disease is indicated by the fact that crops are burnt to avoid this disease.
- Wheat crops around the world are susceptible to the fungus, the researchers warned in the study.
- The pathogen is also resistant to fungicides.
- The biggest concern is that this fungus has the potential to affect not only wheat but also other major food crops.
Need for accurate, early detection
- Genomic surveillance allows for early and accurate detection of these, which can lead to the discovery of the origin of the disease and help create a prevention strategy.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTION
Q. Match the following:
Name of the disease Affected Plant
1. Bacterial leaf blight (BLB) a. Potato.
2. Gummosis b.Rice
3. Powdery mildew c. Pulses
4. Late blight d. Sugarcane
A. 1-a, 2-d, 3-c, 4-a
B. 1-b, 2-d, 3-c, 4-a
C. 1-c, 2-d, 3-a, 4-b
D. 1-c, 2-a, 3-b, 4-d