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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The USDA Program in Molecular Genomics, Disease Resistance and Ipm Strategies for Theobroma Cacao

Authors
item Saunders, James
item Schnell Ii, Raymond
item Hebbar, Prakash - M&M MARS. INC.
item Goenaga, Ricardo
item Bowers, John
item Sanogo, Soum - UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
item Bailey, Bryan
item Brown, Steven
item Mischke, Barbara

Submitted to: PCMA International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2002
Publication Date: September 1, 2002
Citation: Saunders, J.A., Schnell Ii, R.J., Hebbar, P., Goenaga, R.J., Bowers, J.H., Sanogo, S., Bailey, B.A., Brown, S.A., Mischke, B.S. 2002. The usda program in molecular genomics, disease resistance and ipm strategies for theobroma cacao. PCMA International Meeting.

Interpretive Summary: The United States Department of Agriculture has initiated a multidisciplinary program at three separate locations aimed at addressing critical issues relating to the economic production of chocolate from Theobroma cacao. This commodity has come under significant disease pressure within the last 15 years due to three major fungal diseases that have devastated the crop in Central and South America. The USDA program focuses on close cooperation with industry partners and with producing countries in several different areas of research. These research areas include: 1) the establishment of a global cacao molecular identification center Beltsville, MD, to use internationally standardized molecular probes for DNA fingerprinting of all major germplasm center collections of T. cacao in the Americas and related regions, 2) the establishment of a core USDA germplasm center in Puerto Rico as a repository for major accessions of T. cacao, 3) the establishment of a quarantine center in Miami, FL to assist in exchange of elite disease resistant germplasm, 4) an in-depth molecular program of gene discovery, genetic mapping, and examination of population genetics of T. cacao, and 5) investigations into the use of biocontrol agents, as a part of an Integrated Pest Management strategy, against the fungal pathogens causing the diseases of T. cacao. Data for each of these programs is presented to show the status of the research. Each of these lines of investigation are centered not only in US laboratories, but are also linked to extensive field trials and application sites within cooperating cacao growing regions. Through these cooperative interactions, the USDA plans to work with interested parties to improve the practical economic realities of growing chocolate trees in tropical regions.

Technical Abstract: Progress has been made in a multipronged attack on disease control in cacao. Efforts in genetics, IMP pest management, biocontrol studies, cultivar identification, and data base management of information related to cacao breeding programs is presented in this manuscript. This effort is prompted by three major fungal diseases that have devastated cacao production in Central and South America. The USDA program focuses on close cooperation with industry partners and with producing countries in several different areas of research. The research results present here have taken place both in US laboratories, as well as in extensive field trials and applications sites within cooperating cacao growing regions. Significant obstacles are yet to be overcome in the control of cacao diseases, but the cooperative interactions that generated the data presented here continues to improve the practical economic realities of growing chocolate trees in tropical regions.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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