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Figure 1 (a). Setae of Colletotrichum truncatum isolated from bell pepper in Trinidad; (b) symptoms of Phytophthora infection in papaya in Trinidad; (c) symptoms of anthracnose infection in green and red bell pepper caused by C. truncatum in Trinidad
 
Food security is a global concern more so for small-island developing states with limited resources. The extract below describes food security according to a Policy Brief of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2006):
  1. Food availability: The availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports.
  2. Food access: Access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Entitlements are defined as the set of all commodity bundles over which a person can establish command given the legal, political, economic and social arrangements of the community in which they live.
  3. Utilization: Utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. This brings out the importance of non-food inputs in food security.
  4. Stability: To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times. They should not risk losing access to food as a consequence of sudden shocks (e.g. an economic or climatic crisis) or cyclical events (e.g. seasonal food insecurity).

A fundamental threat to food security is plant disease – origins, economic impact, host-pathogen relationships, pathogen diversity, integrated management, chemical resistance. Research conducted in respect of the above, therefore, includes the following:

  1. Genetic profiling of economically important fungal phytopathogens in Trinidad, i.e. genetic diversity/genotyping/haplotyping, population structure, gene flow, migration, and transboundary movement, phylogenetic relationships of local isolates and in relation to global isolates
  2. Monitoring fungicide resistance; identifying mutations associated with fungicide resistance; development of tools to investigate compounds of biological interest as fungistatic or fungicidal agents

Research Team Members: Dr. Sephra Rampersad (primary investigator), Rhonda Latchoo (postgraduate student), Amanda Ramdass (research assistant and postgraduate student), Vijai Ramdhan (Biochemistry Laboratory Technician), Stephen Narine (Field Assistant)

 

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