Cassava is a woody shrub that is used as a staple food in many African countries.
Photo: Shutterstock

01.02.2019

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Researchers at the DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures have succeeded in finding resistance against Cassava Brown Streak disease for African cassava varieties taken from South-American plants.

Cassava research conducted by the Department of Plant Viruses at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH in Brunswick, Germany, has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2014.

On the occasion of a visit by Senior Programme Officer of the Gates Foundation Jim Lorenzen to the DSMZ, Stephan Winter, head of the plant virus research group, presented recent results of research related to cassava resistance in African varieties.

According to Winter, the researchers succeeded in finding resistances against African viruses in cassava varieties from South America. The viruses trigger a severe root rot, the Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), which leads to complete crop loss. So far, African cassava varieties have shown little resistance to these viruses, often leading to catastrophic crop failures. "As the disease continues to spread from East Africa to Central and West Africa and threatens growing in these regions, there is an urgent need to take countermeasures," explains Winter.

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