OCT 19, 2018 11:19 AM PDT

Latin American Coffee Harvests Threatened by Fungus

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

A fungus called hemileia vastatrix causes a plant disease called coffee leaf rust. It affects the two major commercial species of coffee, Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora, and likely many other coffee species.

Coffee leaf rust causes yellow spots to form on the leaves of coffee plants, and eventually, lesions that cause the leaves to drop from the plant prematurely; it devastates the bean harvest. There is no cure for the disease and attempts to thwart it may only be encouraging resistant varieties to evolve.

Related: Sequence of Arabica Coffee Publicly Released

First discovered by westerners in 1861, this devastating fungus has been creating a crisis in Latin America. An outbreak that began in the coffee-producing region in 2012 has spread, with up to seventy percent of farms now affected, and an estimated 1.7 million farmhands out of work. 

Sources: The American Phytopathological Society, NPR

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
OCT 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 05, 2018
Nuclear Reactor, Constructed by Nature
Uranium-235, making up about 0.72% of natural uranium on Earth, is a fissile isotope that fuels the nuclear chain reaction.  Back in 1972, staffs who...
OCT 22, 2018
Videos
OCT 22, 2018
Why doesn't Europe get hurricanes?
Why is it that the US gets pummeled with hurricanes every year and Europe hasn't seen one in over fifty years? Even though Europe does get hit with flo...
OCT 29, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 29, 2018
Here's How NASA Tests Martian Parachutes
NASA uses parachute systems throughout the solar system to ensure spacecraft land safely on other planetary bodies. One of the most prominent examples is M...
NOV 01, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 01, 2018
Oil Absorbing Sponge Made from Wood
  It has been eight years since the crude oil spill in the Mexico Gulf, but the shadow of aquatic petroleum contamination has never been far away. To...
NOV 05, 2018
Videos
NOV 05, 2018
The Mechanisms Underlying the Deadly Blow of the Mantis Shrimp
The mantis shrimp packs a powerful punch that can strike its enemies with one of the fastest moves in the animal kingdom....
NOV 11, 2018
Videos
NOV 11, 2018
Is Our Everyday Electronic Devices Making Us Sick?
1-5% of people believe their electronic devices are making them experiences symptoms associated with such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches. These indivi...
Loading Comments...