Google Never Saved a Farm. a Scientist Did.

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OCTOBER 12, 2015 BY HAWAIIFARMERSDAUGHTER
Why GMO?

So why do farmers need biotechnology?

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If you look closely at the image above, you can see tiny rings on the skin of the papaya. It looks like no big deal but in reality it’s the most dreadful thing a farmer can find. It’s caused by a little bug called the leafhopper. It flies around fields and takes little tastes of plants only to infect it with the virus. One could spray for these critters but once a plant is bit, sprays are ineffective.

Beneath that healthy looking plant is a disease that slowly weakens the it over time. Many farmers would see these rings on their fruit and think nothing of chopping down a tree with lots of good looking fruit on it. These trees are loaded with papayas. It’s money sitting on those trunks. The leaves show no sign of disease so a threat doesn’t appear imminent.

As time goes on, the virus count starts to increase in the plant and the leaves eventually become mottled and disfigured which impairs photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is how a plant converts light into food. Impaired leaves can’t produced food for the plant. That affects the trees’ ability to produce fruits. As the disease progresses, fruits become more covered with the ringspot. The quality of the fruit also declines as a result. The papayas are unsaleable as a result of the virus.

Read more.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Keith EdmistenDr. Keith EdmistenProfessor of Crop Science & Extension Cotton Specialist (919) 515-4069 keith_edmisten@ncsu.eduCrop and Soil Sciences - NC State University
Posted on Oct 14, 2015
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