Enhancement of research capacity to control and manage bacterial plant diseases in Eastern Africa

Description

Project LIFE- 731:

The primary objective is to strengthen the capacity of partner institutions in Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique to conduct research on control and management of bacterial diseases of plants and seeds and to disseminate research findings for the benefit of primary producers. Bacterial plant diseases are causing significant losses in tropical agriculture due to optimal conditions for disease spread and lack of infrastructure to combat the pathogens. Important examples are: (1) the devastating bacterial disease, Banana Xanthomonas Wilt, threatening small-holder farmers in Uganda and currently spreading into Tanzania and a potential threat to neighbouring countries; (2) lack of quick and accurate diagnostic tools for plant bacterial diseases; (3) need of efficient/alternative control measures rather than chemicals alone to manage such diseases; and (4) taking into account the nature of local production systems for the dissemination of research findings. The need for a regional/national capacity to develop and to critically review and adapt control strategies for bacterial plant diseases is required. The present project reflects those needs and included partner countries of Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique) which in collaboration with Danish scientists worked together finding a solution to such problems. In order to provide a broad spectrum of competences, the project involves four work packages covering the spectrum of development of accurate molecular-based diagnostic tools and safe sampling procedures that could be adopted locally or across-countries and control measures, e.g., use of botanicals and, physical seed treatments, evaluation of varieties for disease resistance. Three important target crops were selected each representing a specialized production system: banana, tomato and cabbage. All three crops are susceptible to bacterial diseases caused by the genus Xanthomonas, which formed the focal area of research of the project.

Outputs

OVERALL OBJECTIVES:
To strengthen the capacity of partner institutions in Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique to conduct research in control and management of bacterial diseases of plants and seeds and to disseminate research findings for the benefit of primary producers

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:
Human resources build up; academic education, ability to diagnose and handle bacterial diseases; dissemination of information
 

1. EDUCATION/TRAINING:
Two PhD candidates and 1 MSc capable to undertake independent problem oriented research on management of bacterial diseases in plants and seeds:
      OUTPUTS:
PhD Uganda: 1
PhD Tanzania: 1
MSc student educated in basic bacterial methodology and field survey:
• Not achieved: (i)student attempts made for enrolment in South African University; student enrolled at SUA, Morogoro, Tanzania and but left after short time due to health and family personal reasons/ at the end of the project the student continued her studies at Eduardo Mondlane University.
BSc students trained at the UEM conducting the studies contributing to the implementation of research activities
3 Post docs scientists conducting each research at host institutions: Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique and supporting PhD students and field and laboratory research
 

2. RESEARCH
2.1 SEED SOURCES SURVEYED AND SOURCES OF HEALTHY SEEDS AVAILABLE: Disease-free sources of seeds respectively for tomato and cabbage available for Tanzanian and Mozambican partners
 
Tanzania:
Seed health testing and seed treatments with plant extracts in the control of BLS of tomato in Tanzania:  Populations of xanthomonads and yellow pigmented bacteria  in seeds from Tanzania determined

Detection of the BLS pathogen from tomato seeds, selection of BLS-free seeds possible with standardised method and with the introduction of genus and species specific PCR

Treatment of infected seeds with essential oils and plant extracts in the control of BLS of tomato in Tanzania
 

Mozambique:

Evaluation of seed heat treatment combined with foliar spray of copper based fungicide for crucifers’ black rot (BR) control

Information on cabbage varieties with resistance to bacterial black rot of in multiple locations

Evaluation of plant extracts as seed  treatment combined with foliar spray of copper based fungicide for crucifers’ black rot control

Detection of the black rot pathogen from cabbage seeds selection of BR-free seeds possible with standardised method and with the introduction of genus and species specific PCR (standardised procedures available).

3. FIELD DISEASE SURVEYS
OUTPUTS: Data on the spread of bacterial diseases, newly identified species and races established on:

3.1 BXW OF BANANA: indicating focal areas for dissemination of information in Southern Eastern Tanzania and Northern Mozambique and status in Uganda:

1 peer review article (specific PCR)
2 Technical bulletins and 1 leaflet
3 reports participating surveys countries: Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda)/ presentations in technical workshop
Reports (presentations): 1 presentation on the status of the control/spread of BXW in Uganda (Jerome Kubiriba, power point presentation, technical workshop)
1 surveillance report: under the ASARECA support project operating in 6 countries of Uganda, Kenya, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, Uganda conducting surveillance of BXW in the respective countries in January/ February

3.2 BACTERIAL LEAF SPOT OF TOMATO: focal areas of dissemination of BLS disease and identification of 5 new species in main producing regions in Tanzania established:

1 Peer review article (improved sampling procedures),
1 Technical bulletin on detection and diagnostic procedures
1 Report in Technical Workshop/presentations in international meetings

3.3 BLACK ROT OF CABBAGE:  Areas of Southern production areas of Mozambique affected by the disease established as well as the main race of the pathogen affecting the crops identified:

1 peer reviewed article on recent outbreaks of black rot in Mozambique
1 article under review on the characterisation of the bacterial black rot organism in brassicas from Mozambique (Race 1 of Xcc in Mozambique Southern region under preparation): reported for the first time in Mozambique
1 Technical bulletin on black rot (Manual de campo in portuguese)
2 Technical report presentations (Enreca Technical workshop)): Tanzania, Uganda
 

4. TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM FOR DIAGNOSIS:
OUTPUTS: A common technology platform established at all four partner institutions allowing definitive bacterial diagnosis (genus, species and pathovar, races levels) and verification in compliance with common standards of the international research community

The three countries counting each with a place for conducting research on bacterial diseases, diagnostics and control (Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique)

A standardised and regionally agreed diagnostic procedure (Tanzania-Uganda and Mozambique) for the diagnosis of xanthomonads in banana, tomato, cabbage and evaluated with the occurrence of diseases:

Consolidation of PCR as a practical and useful and flexible technology platform for further agricultural research in the region: Genus specific PCR developed for the differentiation of xanthomonads from groups I and II with DNA directly from field plants and pure bacterial cultures