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Beat the Botrytis

The fungus Botrytis cinerea is one of the major causes of plant disease in New Zealand horticulture. A build-up of fungicide resistance by Botrytis is causing problems but an AGMARDT* post-doctoral fellowship to HortResearch's Dr Wei Cui will assist research to understand the resistance.

Annual losses in excess of $20m in the kiwifruit industry alone are attributed to Botrytis cinerea.

"It is likely that the total cost of Botrytis cinerea to the horticulture industry is at least twice as much as this," Dr Cui said.

A detailed understanding of fungicide resistance in Botrytis would help considerably to extend the life of existing fungicides and also to ensure the effective use of new products. The use of many fungicides is threatened by the development of fungicide-resistance strains of Botrytis and managing the problem is a high priority.

The control of the disease is difficult, and still relies on cultural control combined with regular fungicide use.

The two-year AGMARDT Fellowship of $130,000 will provide more time to develop a detailed understanding of the resistance at the molecular level.

"The fungus is already the focus of substantial research in the CRIs and universities and this project will complement the effort," Dr Cui said. ________________________________________________________

AGMARDT = The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust

For further information contact: Dr Wei Cui, HortResearch, Tel: 09 815 4200. Fax: 09 815 4201. Email: wcui@hort.cro.nz or Dr Matt Templeton, HortResearch, Tel: 09 815 4200. Fax: 09 815 4201. Email: mtempleton@hort.cri.nz or Liz Brook, Communications Manager, HortResearch, Tel: 06 351 7000 Ext 7749 Fax: 06 351 7038 Mobile: 025 505 912 A/h: 06 328 9836 Email: lbrook@hort.cri.nz

Liz Brook Communications Manager HortResearch Corporate Office Private Bag 11 030 Palmerston North New Zealand

Tel: +64 (6) 351 7000 Ext 7749 Fax: +64 (6) 351 7038 Mobile: 025 505 912


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