A2 Microbes in the News (1/3) :The problem expands for avocado growers: 9 beetle species carry deadly fungus

“The problem expands for avocado growers: 9 beetle species carry deadly fungus”


Source: Science Daily –  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170412111714.htm


Summary: Originally determined to be ravaging avocado trees in South Florida by transmitting the laurel wilt pathogen, the red ambrosia beetle are determined to be rare in avocado groves, in addition to determining that 6 other species of beetle can transfer this pathogen. Researchers at the  University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are now  seeking better strategies for controlling the transfer of of the disease causing fungal spores carried among these beetles.

Connection to Class: This article is essentially looking at the idea of microbial management to prevent the spread of disease. Our class lectures mainly look at how humans  can control disease using proper hygiene and other antimicrobial techniques(i.e. sterilization, antimicrobial agents, etc.). Scientists in this scenario are seeking ways at preventing the spread of disease causing fungal spores that ravage avocado groves.

Analysis: What I found most interesting about the article is the number of potential culprits causing the spread of the laurel wilt pathogen. Overall, I think this article is accurate and is meant to let the readers know that these researchers have changed the scope of their study and may potentially have better results in the future. Structurally, the article seemed straightforward and concise. It is easy read and isn’t dense full of scientific terminology that can  confuse casual readers.

Question(s): Have they looked at potential carriers that aren’t beetles such as other insects or wildlife? Additionally, is there options for eradicating the spores from the beetles or treating these avocado trees once they are infected by laurel wilt?

2 Comments for “A2 Microbes in the News (1/3) :The problem expands for avocado growers: 9 beetle species carry deadly fungus”



I agree with the conclusions you came to in your analysis and I like the style of writing this website uses to convey the information to the reader because its simple enough for most to understand, but complex enough that it shows that they performed valid studies. To answer your questions, I could not find evidence that they researched other potential carriers, but there is a drug for treating laurel wilt called Alamo®, and that treating the beetles would be an inefficient method due to the spores being able to survive regardless of the beetles’ survival and getting rid of the spore itself being a more costly process on the beetles in the wild.



This article also has a focus on causal agents and the means in which the fungi spreads.
I didn’t find any other possible carriers of the fungus, but I did find some possible solutions to laurel wilt. In 2008, a possible systemic fungicide, propiconazole, was tested against the fungus. They found that all trees treated with the fungicide did not develop the fungus for at least 30 weeks, while 9/10 of the untreated trees developed symptoms (https://www.fs.fed.us/r8/foresthealth/laurelwilt/resources/pubs/laurel_wilt_isa_auf_article.pdf)