Pigeonpea now smiles

Virus causing disease in a crop identified

Published: Wednesday 15 December 2004

P Lava Kumar (left) awarded fo A researcher from Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics has identified the virus that causes the sterility mosaic disease in pigeonpea (commonly known as tur dal). The finding is significant, as the disease leads to an annual loss of US $300 million in India and Nepal, which account for 90 per cent of the crop's global production.

Detection of the virus could help evolve better pest management practices. The disease, spread by the eriophyid mite, was long considered as one of the most difficult scientific problems of this century. P Lava Kumar, the researcher, recently won the Young Scientist Award given by the US-based Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research for his work.

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