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Yucca extract effective against scab in apple cultivation


March 27, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

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Researchers at Wageningen
University and Research Centre in the Netherlands have shown that yucca
extract can be used as a preventative and curative treatment for scab
in apples.

Researchers at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands have shown that yucca extract can be used as a preventative and curative treatment for scab in apples. The discovery is being touted as an important breakthrough for organic apple production and may also benefit non-organic cultivation. A patent application has been submitted and there are plans to develop the yucca extract into a ready-made product. Apple scab is caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis and is a major economic issue in all areas where apples are grown. The disease develops mainly during cool, rainy conditions in the spring and the resulting spots can make apples difficult to sell. Early leaf loss also reduces the vitality of the apple trees. Researchers studied the effects of yucca extracts in the laboratory and in the orchard. When examining apple seedlings in the laboratory, researchers found the extract prevented the fungus from budding and infecting trees. It had a curative effect for up to one day after the fungus appears. The extract was shown to be promising during field tests in an organic orchard in the Netherlands and another orchard in Denmark. The effects were found to be as good as those found by applying a low dose of copper.

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