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This book views the vulnerability of our crops in general to devastating diseases as well as specifically the disease problems of two important staples, rice and cassava. Increased travel and increased transport of plant material throughout the world pose ever more significant risks to the health of our plants. These include not only the destruction of our food crops by pathogens which may be imported accidentally or maliciously but also their contamination by fungi that produce powerful toxins (mycotoxins). How we should respond to these challenges is the subject of several papers. Clearly, quarantine is an important measure by which the spread of plant pathogens may be at least delayed, if not curtailed altogether, but breeding plants for resistance is the mainstay for maintaining the comparative health and productivity of our crops. However, adequate resistance may not be available in the gene pool of a given species or genus and therefore the possibility of genetic modification arises, a topic treated in two of the papers.
The role of plant pathology in food safety and food security. 1. Plant diseases and the world's dependence on rice; R.S. Zeigler, S. Savary.- 2. Development of appropriate strategies to control cassava diseases in Ghana; E. Moses.- 3. Biosecurity in the movement of commodities as a component of global food security; N.A. van der Graaff, W. Khoury.- Global Food Security. 4. ISPP and the challenge of food security; P. Scott, R.N. Strange.- 5. Globalisation and the threat of biosecurity; H.C. Evans, J.M. Waller.- 6. Genetic Modification (GM) as a new tool in the resistance toolbox; T. Hohn, G. Schachermayr.- 7. The role of plant pathology and biotechnology in food security in Africa; J.M. Onsando, F. Wambugu.- Mycotoxins. 8. The secondary metabolite toxin, sirodesmin PL, and its role in virulence of the blackleg fungus; B.J. Howlett et al.- 9. Biological and chemical complexity of Fusarium proliferatum; R.H. Proctor et al. Biosecurity and quarantine. 10. Bioterrorism: a threat to plant biosecurity?; J.P. Stack et al.- 11. The revised IPPC -- a new context for plant quarantine; W. Roberts.- 12. Pest risk analysis as applied to plant pathogens; F. Petter et al.
Richard N. Strange is Senior Lecturer in Plant Pathology at University College London and has a special interest in the plant disease problems of developing countries. Maria Lodovica Gullino is a professor of plant pathology at the University of Torino and President of the International Society for Plant Pathology. She has long term experience in plant disease management.