Sunday, February 17, 2013

Don't Take Away Our Coffee!

If you are like myself or the majority of other college students, you need your coffee to start your day. Unfortunately, the coffee industry is expected to see a massive (almost 50% reduction) in their harvested coffee plants during this upcoming 2013-2014 season due to a new fungus outbreak. This orange fungus, commonly referred to as "coffee rust" has been rapidly affecting coffee leaves throughout Mexico and Central America and inabling photosynthetic growth.
"When the fungus enters pores on the basis of leaves, it consumes tissue until the leaves die, and occasionally fall off."

Coupled with the humidity of global warming, scientists are also attributing this outbreak to increased systematic use of fungicides and pesticides, creating resistant mutations of new fungi. In addition, new rainfall patterns are becoming culprits. Rather than heavy storms that can, in essence, "wash away" the emerging fungi off of leaves, these Central American areas are enduring frequent light rains that are maintaining adequate moisture levels and harboring the fungi's growth.

The course of action? Scientists are now attempting to cross breed the coffee plants with more rust-resistant strains. The crossbred flavor might not be ideal or quite the same, but improvements are in the works to be made.

For more on this topic, you can check out the following links:

1 comment:

  1. This is a frightening article to say the least. As one of the most highly used drugs in the world, caffeine underproduction could potentially have a catastrophic effect throughout the world economically, but also culturally. This really drills home the importance of sustainable and environmentally beneficial agricultural technique, which are far too often overlooked presently. Today, much of our world's current focus is on crop yield and not overall crop health. Hopefully they find a solution to the fungus and are able to maintain an immunity or resistance in future populations to better aid the production of coffee, while establishing a self-sufficient and sustainable crop.