Defeating cane diseases: plant pathologists and the development of disease control strategies in the Australian sugar industry, 1920-1950

Griggs, Peter D (2007) Defeating cane diseases: plant pathologists and the development of disease control strategies in the Australian sugar industry, 1920-1950. Historical Records of Australian Science, 18 (1). pp. 43-73.

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Abstract

Between 1920 and 1950, the Queensland sugar industry was troubled by many of the diseases that plagued sugar cane, often in serious proportions. Financial losses from these disease outbreaks in the 1920s prompted the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) and Queensland Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations (BSES) to employ university-trained plant pathologists who undertook research into identifying the diseases, understanding their etiology and devising control strategies to reduce their impact. Archival records, annual reports of both organizations and published scientific papers are used to reconstruct the programs of research undertaken into these diseases. Control strategies developed as a result of this research included restrictions on the movement of cane plants, the establishment of quarantine districts, use of disease-free planting material, pre-treatment of planting material with hot water and/or solutions of organic mercurial fungicides and ‘roguing’ of diseased cane plants. Consequently, by 1950, gumming, Fiji and downy mildew diseases - three of the most troublesome cane diseases in Australia- had been virtually eliminated in sugar producing districts.

Item ID: 1553
Item Type: Article (UNSPECIFIED)
Keywords: Queensland sugar industry, sugar cane diseases, plant pathologists, gumming disease, ratoon stunting disease, Queensland Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, David North, CSR
ISSN: 1448-5508
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2007
FoR Codes: 22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220299 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields not elsewhere classified @ 70%
14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140203 Economic History @ 30%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 1
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