SRC Begins Project to Eliminate Rhizome Rot

Story Highlights

  • The Scientific Research Council (SRC), in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency, has started a breeding programme using radiation to modify the genes of ginger affected by the Rhizome Rot.
  • Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Cliff Riley, told JIS News that the process, which seeks to eliminate the fungus that affects locally produced ginger, involves exposing the ginger to radiation, and then inoculating them with the fungus to test the resistance of the plant.
  • He noted that the SRC has gone through a number of cycles for the breeding and inoculation of the plant.

The Scientific Research Council (SRC), in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency, has started a breeding programme using radiation to modify the genes of ginger affected by the Rhizome Rot.

Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Cliff Riley, told JIS News that the process, which seeks to eliminate the fungus that affects locally produced ginger, involves exposing the ginger to radiation, and then inoculating them with the fungus to test the resistance of the plant.

“Once the plant is resistant to the virus, you can then start using the rhizomes again to cultivate the plant,” Dr. Riley said.

He noted that the SRC has gone through a number of cycles for the breeding and inoculation of the plant. In another two months, the Council will be advanced in the evaluation process.

“The challenge that the SRC has, is the length of time that the plant takes to grow, with a nine-month waiting period, and then three to four months for it to re-sprout,” Dr. Riley explained.

He said the Council is currently in the evaluation phase, and they are hopeful that by the end of the financial year 2017, they will be able to confirm the resistance profile, so that they can start mass producing the plant for introduction in the field.

The Jamaican yellow ginger industry was severely affected by the fusarium wilt, which causes the rhizome rot.

The rhizome rot, which is spread by a fungus known as fusarium, causes the plant to wilt and turn yellow. This fungus is easily transferable.

“Once an infected plant is moved from one area and planted in another, the fungus can be transferred,” Dr. Riley  said.

The fungus affects both the Jamaican yellow and blue ginger, the Executive Director added.

The partnership on the project between the SRC and the International Atomic Energy Agency began almost three years ago.

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