Agriculture

Controlling witchweed through biocontrol

IITA and its partners have found a way to control the scourge of witchweed ( Striga hermonthica ) in Sub-Saharan Africa through a biocontrol agent. Striga infests some 50 million hectares of cereal crops, specifically maize, sorghum and millet, causing farmers an estimated US$ 7 billion in annual losses and affecting over 300 million people in the region. Developed by a team led by IITA plant pathologist Dr. Fen Beed with partners from the University of McGill (Canada) and University of Hohenheim (Germany), the technology utilizes certain strains of Fusarium oxysporum ( F. oxysporum ) to...

Common plant could bring wealth

George Dayimani demonstrates the length of an A. americana leaf Associated with liquor beverages similar to tequila, extracted for decades, the spiky Agave americana can become a coveted source of utilisation ranging from paper-making, composites for the automotive industry to the pharmaceutical and food industries. In a research study with a view to greater utilisation of A. americana , the CSIR found that all parts of A. americana can be utilised successfully for various applications. The 'zero-waste' use of the plant would enable its production and processing to be translated into a viable...

New Hope for Improved Food Safety in Sub-Saharan Africa

Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture ( IITA ) have developed a safe and effective method for biological control of aflatoxins. These are toxic chemicals of fungal origin, which contaminate maize and other major food crops, posing a chronic threat to human health in sub-Saharan Africa. See photos below story With the new method, strains of the fungi that produce aflatoxin are overwhelmed through the introduction of related but entirely harmless strains. These were identified and tested through several years of meticulous research supported by the German Agency for...

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