Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


New tool to characterise disease epidemics in trees

10 April 2014

Researchers develop new tool to characterise disease epidemics in trees

A University of Otago researcher and overseas colleagues have developed an innovative approach to modelling outbreaks of citrus greening, a devastating bacterial disease that has caused more than US$4.5 billion in lost citrus production in Florida alone in recent years.

The researchers’ model allows characterisation of the disease process, even when epidemiological data are limited due to the presence of control measures.

The model can also be used to simulate how the disease will spread over time in particular conditions, allowing growers to calculate the economic costs and benefits of various disease control measures. Their findings appear online this week in the early edition of the leading US journal PNAS.

Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), has inflicted increasingly severe economic losses on growers in some of the world’s key citrus-growing areas. Insects called psyllids act as vectors for the disease, spreading a bacterial infection between trees when they feed. There is currently no cure for HLB and trees showing signs of infection have to be destroyed.

Lead author of the study, Dr Matthew Parry of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, says that efforts to learn more about the pattern of the spread of such vector-borne diseases have been hampered by growers’ understandable desire to swiftly control outbreaks.

“Now we have developed an epidemic model which can take into account the effect of control measures in HLB outbreaks, we can show how effective different types of control will be, and predict worst case scenarios,” Dr Parry says.

The researchers, who included colleagues from leading institutions in the UK and the US, drew on an extensive dataset involving more than 250,000 trees in an affected plantation in South Florida to build their model.

“As New Zealand’s primary industries are very vulnerable to biological hazards, we believe that this kind of tool has good potential for developing strategies to tackle emerging vector-borne disease threats.”

Publication details:
Bayesian inference for an emerging arboreal epidemic in the presence of control
Matthew Parry, Gavin J. Gibson, Stephen Parnell, Tim R. Gottwald, Michael S. Irey, Timothy C. Gast, and Christopher A. Gilligan
PNAS 2014
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/04/02/1310997111.full.pdf+html

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Economic Update: RBNZ Says Rate Cut Seems Likely

The Reserve Bank will likely cut interest rates further as a persistently strong kiwi dollar makes it difficult for the bank to meet its inflation target, it said. The local currency fell. More>>

ALSO:

House Price Action Plan: RBNZ Signals National Lending Restrictions

The central bank wants to cap bank lending to property investors with a deposit of less than 40 percent at 5 percent and restore the 10 percent limit for owner-occupiers wanting to take out a mortgage with a deposit of less than 20 percent, according to a consultation paper released today. More>>

ALSO:

Sparks Fly: Gordon Campbell On China Steel Dumping Allegations

No doubt, officials on the China desk at MFAT have prided themselves on fashioning a niche position for New Zealand right in between the US and China – and leveraging off both of them! Well, as the Aussies would say, of MFAT: tell ‘em they’re dreaming. More>>

ALSO:

Loan Sharks: Finance Companies Found Guilty Of Breaching Fair Trading Act

Finance companies Budget Loans and Evolution Finance, run by former 1980s corporate high-flyer Allan Hawkins, have been found guilty of 106 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act for misleading 21 borrowers while enforcing loan contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Post Panama Papers: Govt To Adopt Shewan's Foreign Trust Recommendations

The government will adopt all of the recommendations from former PwC chairman John Shewan to increase disclosure and introduce a register for foreign trusts with new legislation to be introduced next month. More>>

ALSO:

The Price Of Cheese: Cheddar At Eight-Year Low

Food prices decreased 0.5 percent in the year to June 2016, influenced by lower grocery food prices (down 2.3 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. Compared with June 2015, cheese prices were down 9.5 percent, fresh milk was down 3.9 percent, and yoghurt was down 9.2 percent. More>>

ALSO:

Financial Advisers: New 'Customer-First' Obligations

Goldsmith plans to do away with the current adviser designations which he says have been "unsatisfactory" in that some advisers are obliged to disclose potential conflicts of interest and act in their customers' best interests, but others are not. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news