From Islamabad to Egham: Sharing quarantine best practice to fight Parthenium weed in Pakistan

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Biocontrol Research Officer Dr Kazam Ali from Islamabad has undergone an intensive week-long quarantine management course delivered by CABI colleagues in Egham, UK, as part of a joint focus on fighting the highly invasive and destructive Parthenium weed in Pakistan.

Dr Ali, who works at a new quarantine facility built to create greater capacity for Parthenium research at CABI’s Central and Western Asia (CWA) offices and laboratories in Rawalpindi, learnt a range of certified quarantine procedures and protocols followed at CABI Egham which can be transferred for the management of the facilities in Pakistan.

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Food Gardening in the Anthropocene

By Daniela Soleri, University of California, David A Cleveland, University of California, Steven E Smith, University of Arizona

In early September 2017, the fall equinox was approaching, and things were different in our garden. The heat-loving basil plants that should have been slowing down as the days shorten and cooler weather usually arrives, were showing no sign of changing. The fruit on both varieties of our persimmon trees were turning deep orange at least one month earlier than in previous years. The unusually warm, dry summer of 2017 in much of the western US contributed to similar experiences for many gardeners.

The experimenatl garden of Mashhad University in Iran

That autumn was an example of how the timing and duration of plant life cycles, and our garden activities, are changing from what we are familiar with, and like other gardeners and farmers, we need to figure out how to respond.

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Food for thought: Fungal biological resources to support international development – challenges and opportunities

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Powdery mildew spores on wheat – the second most important food crop in the developing world after rice (Copyright CABI).

At first glance it might be hard to see how the exploitation of microbes, especially fungi, can have the power to help humanity meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), feed the world’s growing population and improve the bioeconomies of poorer nations.

But a team of international scientists from CABI, the Westerdijk Institute and the US, led by CABI lead author Dr Matthew Ryan, have come together to pen a new paper in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, which examines the challenges and opportunities of putting fungal biological resources right at the centre of supporting international development.

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The Science of Communicating Science: The Ultimate Guide, by Dr Craig Cormick

By Rachel Winks, CABI

The Science of Communicating Science: The Ultimate Guide by Dr Craig Cormick, published this month jointly by CABI and CSIRO, is a book that helps to solve a major problem that many scientists face at some point in their career: how do I communicate my work to society?

How do I give that interview with a news outlet that would help explain my research to the general public, or how do I deliver that presentation to a donor that could secure the next round of funding for my project?

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While there are millions of chatty blogs, books and videos about how to talk to the press or give a speech, where do scientists go to get digestible but evidence-based answers about the approaches that work best; the tools that really move the dial?

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CAB Reviews hits 1000 articles with fall armyworm paper

The CABI journal CAB Reviews has just published its 1000th paper, with a study examining how smallholder farmers can manage the devastating crop pest fall armyworm (FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda). The rapid spread of the FAW to sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is a major threat to smallholder maize farmers, with an average infestation level of 30% of plants across Africa (see CABI’s Fall Armyworm Portal).

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In his article, Allan Hruska of the Food and Agriculture Organization has examined published studies to see which management options are most likely to work for smallholders. Continue reading

CABI leads regional workshop on Pest Risk Analysis tool in Bangladesh

The Invasives Blog

Workshop participants and CABI facilitators pose for a group photo in two rows.Workshop participants and CABI facilitators (L-R from front row, 2nd from left) Claire Curry, Ganeshamoorthy Rajendra and Dr Manju Thakur. (Photo: Ganeshamoorthy Rajendra)

Plant quarantine experts on Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) from four countries in South Asia joined together in Bangladesh last week (4th -5th September) for a workshop led by CABI on the new Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) decision support tool and workflow. The PRA tool workshop, which was made possible through CABI’s Action on Invasives programme, took place over two days in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and welcomed participants from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, as well as delegates from FAO and SAARC, Bangladesh.

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Remembering Anthony Johnston – former Director Commonwealth Mycological Institute

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Anthony Johnston (left) was Director Commonwealth Mycological Institute between 1968 to 1983. He was instrumental in the changeover from manual to computerised production of abstract journals and setting up a computer database with an online retrieval service.

By Dr David Smith, Director Biological Resources at CABI

It was sad to hear of the passing of Anthony Johnston, a plant pathologist and former Director of the Commonwealth Mycological Institute (CMI) 1968-1983. He is fondly remembered by his colleagues, some of whom are still working at CAB International (originally CAB – Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux) which was the parent organisation of the Institute.

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