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Proprietary copper fungicides can be routinely applied on crops, an alternative to the antibiotics, to control many bacterial and fungal diseases, without posing a risk to the public health in the long-term

terry 19Dull, overcast conditions in the tropics provide the ideal conditions for angular leaf spot disease. (Image source: Terry Mabbett)

The use of antibiotics on crops destined for human or livestock consumption carries huge long-term risks for public health by increasing the development and proliferation of antibiotic-resistant populations of bacterial pathogens that cause diseases in humans and animals. Indeed, the antibiotics used to control bacterial plant pathogens in rice are chemically related to the antibiotics routinely used in humans and livestock.

Case study on cucumber

A case study was conducted on cucumber which suffers from a number of fungal diseases and a potentially devastating bacterial disease called angular spot caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae p.v. lachrymans which can be controlled by using proprietary copper fungicides such as cuprous oxide.

The seed-borne disease spreads when bacteria are splashed between plants by rain and wind. It is clearly most serious in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, which experience a distinct and severe wet season.

As such, the following assessment of copper fungicide sprays as a practical control measure for angular leaf spot disease was conducted on the Caribbean island of Trinidad which is well-positioned within the tropics and has a classical hot, wet and humid climate.

Cucumber plant has seen a dynamic growth and speedy leaf expansion with the use of cuprous oxide. The rapid increase in crop surface area from the onset of plant vining to maturity when the foliage of adjacent plants meets and overlaps means ‘leaf area index’ will rise rapidly for crops.

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