Combating Viruses in Cacao Plants

DanSpecialty Crops, This Land of Ours

Researchers are working to battle a virus that affects the world’s chocolate supply. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Image by Marco Vasquez from Pixabay

Up to 40 percent of the world’s cacao beans, which are used to make chocolate, are lost to cacao plant diseases. Researcher Doctor Alina Puig is finding ways to fight those issues. One issue she’s working on is cacao mild mosaic virus.

“I did develop a test to detect the virus in an infected plant,” Puig said. “It’s been used to identify infected plants in quarantine so that they could be destroyed, and it’s also been used to identify infected plants and prevent the movement to new locations.”

She said making sure the diseases don’t spread is extremely important.

“With plant diseases, there are no cures, no treatments, really, that you can give a plant to cure a disease. The ways plant diseases are combatted are by preventing introduction to new locations, which is the most important,” she continued. “And then once it’s present in a location, it’s preventing transmission to new plants and trying to minimize the severity of the disease.

We continue learning about cacao plant diseases and work to combat them in tomorrow’s This Land of Ours.

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land of Ours program here.

Combating Viruses in Cacao Plants

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.