New blueberry disease strains appear in B.C.

New blueberry disease strains appear in B.C.

B.C.’s blueberry farmers routinely deal with various pests and pathogens that damage plants and affect crop yields. Recently, the blueberry scorch virus has become the scourge of the industry, causing a loss of yield and profitability. Farmers can test sick plants to determine whether the blueberry scorch virus, or other known viruses, are to blame. Once they have this information, farmers know what to do to protect their plants.

But now, a mysterious new problem is threatening B.C.’s blueberry industry – visibly sick plants are testing negative for unknown causes. More and more blueberry bushes are being affected each season. Researchers on a two-year project funded by Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) are playing the role of plant detectives to solve this mystery.

“In 2020, for instance, 18 per cent of samples from damaged plants tested negative for both the blueberry scorch virus and blueberry shock virus. We need to know what is affecting these blueberry bushes to find out how to reduce the spread of disease,” says Jim Mattsson, associate professor in the department of biological sciences at Simon Fraser University and lead researcher on the project, in a press release.

Continue reading.

Photo by Валерия on Unsplash



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