Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tackle Fungal Forces to Save Crops, Forests and Endangered Animals, Say Scientists



ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 2012) — More than 600 million people could be fed each year by halting the spread of fungal diseases in the world's five most important crops, according to research published April 11 in the journal Nature.

Furthermore, data reviewed by scientists suggests that in 70% of cases where infectious disease causes the extinction of a type of animal or plant, an emerging species of fungus is behind the problem. Evidence suggests this figure is increasing.

The scientists behind the study, from the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and institutions in the US, are calling for new solutions to prevent the proliferation of existing and emerging fungal infections in plants and animals in order to prevent further loss of biodiversity and food shortages in the future.

Fungal infections presently destroy at least 125 million tonnes of the top five food crops -- rice, wheat, maize, potatoes and soybeans -- each year, which could otherwise be used to feed those who do not get enough to eat. These crops provide the majority of calories consumed by people.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120411132000.htm



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